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Man pleads not guilty to alleged pawn shop burglary and drug charges

Crime Watch

REXBURG – A man appeared in court Monday after allegedly robbing a Rexburg pawn shop.

Jesse Morgan Sonnip, 37, appeared before District Judge Steven Boyce on Monday after his case was moved to district court.

Sonnip pleaded not guilty to felony burglary, felony possession of a controlled substance and misdemeanor use or possession of drug paraphernalia.

On Sept. 9, Rexburg police officers responded to a pawn shop in Rexburg for a possible “prowler,” according to the police report.

When they arrived, one officer saw a man “attempting to hide behind some items near the garage door.”

After calling out to him, the man, identified as Sonnip, stepped out in front of the police. Officers say he was holding a cell phone in his right hand and a pair of pliers in his left hand.

When asked to drop everything, Sonnip began to “sidestep towards the road instead of coming directly towards (the officer),” according to court documents.

Officers realized he was going to try and run away, so they began to walk toward him. Sonnip then started running down the road, quickly being chased by police.

Sonnip ran a circle around the pawn shop before officers successfully tased him, and he fell to the ground.

As officers attempted to cuff him, Sonnip tensed up and tried to roll on top of an officer, according to the police report. An officer stated that “(Sonnip) and I wrestled for a moment and he was able to get away from me.”

The officer again began to chase Sonnip, who was running toward the University Gateway apartments. The officer lost sight of him and was unable to locate him.

A woman that was with Sonnip back at the pawn shop told officers that he “took some things from the store and put them in her car.” She also said that Sonnip had a backpack in the car that had drugs in it.

Officers searched the car and found two tackle boxes and two fishing poles.

Inside the backpack, they found “seven “dirty thirty” fentanyl pills, seven grams of marijuana, four syringes, pliers with residue, a meth pipe with residue, two metal picks, a shot glass with residue, several small cotton balls consistent with heroin use, burnt rolling papers, and a green case with marijuana inside,” according to the police report.

Officers believed that Sonnip stole the fishing items from the pawn shop.

A warrant for Sonnip’s arrest was issued on Sept. 12, and he was located and booked into the Madison County Jail that day. His bond was set to $35,000.

Though Sonnip has been charged with these crimes, it does not necessarily mean he committed them. Everyone is presumed innocent until they are proven guilty.

A jury trial is scheduled for Jan. 26, 2023.

If convicted, Sonnip could face up to 18 years in prison.

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