Traffic stop leads to arrests and possible vehicle theft ring
SALT LAKE CITY — Two people are jailed and an investigation into a vehicle theft ring is ongoing after a traffic stop in Utah County.
The Utah County Sheriff’s Office says the initial stop was on Nov. 14, 2020. One of their deputies pulled over a pickup truck that was towing a trailer with no working headlights.
The sheriff’s department arrested Tyler Ferguson of Salt Lake City, 44, on outstanding warrants as well as felony and misdemeanor charges related to the vehicle he was driving and the trailer he was towing.
Not much was legal about the truck
After checking Ferguson’s truck, deputies found that the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) had been damaged or destroyed. Then they learned that the VIN for the trailer was associated with a stolen trailer.
The truck’s license plate had no record in the state database, according to deputies. The registration sticker on the truck’s plate belonged to a different, stolen, vehicle. The same was true for the plate on the trailer.
A search of Ferguson’s backpack revealed drug paraphernalia, a forged Social Security card, and a birth certificate from Tennessee that belonged to someone else, investigators said.
A vehicle theft ring
During questioning, deputies say Ferguson told them he’d been camping on the west side of Utah Lake. He told deputies that they’d find more people there, according to a press release.
On Nov. 19, deputies followed up on the information from Ferguson and report that on Soldier Pass Road, west of Utah Lake, they found “several people in a makeshift camp.”
Deputies report that they also found additional stolen vehicles, stolen and possibly stolen license plates, and other items that the deputies report were either stolen or possibly stolen.
Interviews with these people netted more information, including another location in Juab County where deputies were told they would find more stolen vehicles and property.
As investigators have learned more, there have been more arrests. Those include Tamara Mikol Bookhout, 51, Salt Lake City, and Zachary Lon Durrant, 44, of Salt Lake City. Both face felony and misdemeanor charges related to the stolen vehicles, license plates, registration stickers, and altered VIN plates. Heather Jean Dodge, 42, of West Valley City, faces misdemeanor drug charges.
Bookhout and Durrant are out of jail. Ferguson remains jailed on warrants and on the new charges.
The investigation is ongoing and deputies say there will likely be more arrests.
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