FARMINGTON — A man who is a suspect in numerous thefts throughout Northern Utah remained at large Tuesday, following a wild and daring escape from police custody.
The man’s female accomplice managed to escape from a holding cell at Farmington police headquarters but was captured at a nearby park, said Farmington Police Lt. Parish Snyder.
The woman has been identified as Shauntae Leah Stratton, 23, of West Valley. She is being held in Davis County Jail on suspicion of forgery, theft, three counts of unlawful use of a financial transaction card and vehicle burglary.
Authorities were working Tuesday afternoon to positively identify the man.
The events began about 11:15 a.m. Tuesday at the Lagoon RV Park & Campground.
A Farmington police detective went to the campground on a hunch, looking for the man and Stratton. Snyder said police believe the two recently used stolen credit cards to buy items at the Station Park shopping complex and also used a counterfeit $30,000 cashier’s check to purchase a 31-foot Bounder motor home in West Jordan.
These same suspects have been connected to multiple credit card and check fraud cases throughout Salt Lake, Davis, and Summit counties, police said.
One of the incidents occurred May 30 at the Fort Union Walmart, according to a news release from the West Jordan Police Department.
Stratton was detained by loss prevention personnel and threatened to stab the employee, according to police, but she escaped and left in the stolen motor home.
The detective found the motor home at the Lagoon campground Tuesday and attempted to question the man, who became uncooperative and fled, Snyder said.
The man was arrested in the campground following a short foot pursuit and Stratton was also taken into custody. They were placed in handcuffs, put in separate vehicles and driven to the Farmington police station.
Stratton became violent when an officer attempted to place her in a holding cell at the station, and the officer who had driven the male suspect to police headquarters rushed inside to help subdue her.
After Stratton was subdued, the officer went back to his vehicle to retrieve the man who had been handcuffed in the back seat, Snyder said. However, the man had kicked out the back window of the police car, slipped out of the handcuffs and had escaped.
The man then stole a 2007 black Hummer H-3 with the keys in the ignition parked at a residence across the street from the police station, Snyder said. The vehicle has Montana plates that read Lizard 6.
Meanwhile, Stratton picked the lock to the cell door, possibly using something that she had hidden in her mouth, and also escaped.
A secretary for the police department saw Stratton run to a heavily wooded park next to police headquarters.
A police K-9 unit found Stratton in the park, and she again attempted to run away, even though she was surrounded by five officers, Snyder said.
Police used a body wrap device, which consists of a shoulder harness, a binding for the ankles, and a blanket with straps that encircles and restrains the legs, to help restrain Stratton.
Police will examine the holding cell doors at the police station for mechanical problems and will also review procedures for leaving prisoners locked in patrol cars as a result of the escapes.
The man and Stratton are wily, Snyder said.
“They’ve been around the block a time or two. They know what they are doing.”