CENTERVILLE -- A couple who stole a car in California had their luck run out when they parked the car right in front of a police officer.
Now the pair is facing charges not only Davis County, but probably in several surrounding states as well, depending on what officers learn from the ongoing investigation, said Centerville Assistant Police Chief Paul Child.
Sabrina Anne Gatson, 34, and Robert Earl Whitchurch, 27, both of Bakersfield, Calif., decided to stop at Walmart in Centerville around midnight on Saturday. Gatson was driving the black Chevrolet Impala and she parked the car in front of an unmarked police car with an officer sitting inside.
Child said the officer, who is part of the city's Problem Oriented Policing division, was watching the parking lot for potential problems.
The couple left the car, walked into the store and the officer ran a check on the California plates. The car had been reported stolen from Enterprise in California on Nov. 19. It had been rented on Oct. 31, but had never been returned, Child said.
The officer called for backup, and marked police cars showed up.
At about the same time, Whitchurch came out of the store, got into the car alone and drove it so it was closer to the store's entrance. When he got out, Gatson came out of the store and the two talked for a minute and then got back in the car.
That is when the officers decided it was time to arrest the pair.
Child said the two tried to pay for items inside the store with a check, but it was denied.
Child said an inventory of the contents inside the car shows it has been to Montana, Idaho and Colorado. Some of those contents are items from mailboxes, others were forged identification documents and forged checks. There was also a receipt from a Salt Lake-area jewelry store where the pair had opened an account and bought $4,000 worth of jewelry, police said.
Officers also found drug paraphernalia inside the car.
"There was a lot of junk in the car and we're just trying to sort it all out," Child said.
Gatson and Whitchurch were booked in the Davis County Jail on several charges including possession of a stolen vehicle. A warrant for Whitchurch was issued out of California, Child said.
Contact reporter Loretta Park at 801-625-4252 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at @LorettaParkSE.