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Massive identity theft spree linked to single Salt Lake couple on the run

By Mike Anderson | Posted - Jul. 18, 2012 at 8:12 p.m.


5 photos

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SALT LAKE CITY — Hundreds of stolen IDs and stolen items have been found, all linked to a single couple who managed to escape custody.

One of those suspects is Shauntae Stratton, who was arrested following the chase shown above.

The other — 40-year-old Joseph Lee Chatwin — is still on the run.

Police say both he and 23-year-old Shauntae Leah Stratton made some pretty dramatic escapes yesterday. Chatwin was somehow able to escape his cuffs, while Stratton managed to jimmy open a lock. The two suspects had escaped the day before, as well - Chatwin by breaking out of a police cruiser, and Stratton by managing to escape a holding cell.

Now, detectives say they're discovering a trail of victims left in the wake of the couple's crime spree.

"Our list is up to about 200 known victims at this point," said Officer Craig Carroll.

Today, police are poring over evidence. Dozens of stolen goods were found inside a trailer by Farmington detectives, who say the couple purchased the motorhome from Michael LeRoy using a forged cashier's check.

Officers found this H3 Hummer in west Salt Lake 
City that they say Chatwin stole after his 
escape, although he is still on the run.
Officers found this H3 Hummer in west Salt Lake City that they say Chatwin stole after his escape, although he is still on the run.

LeRoy said Chatwin and Stratton seemed nice and trustworthy.

"All that checked out. The trouble is, all this identification they gave us belonged to previous victims."

Police believe most of the stolen IDs were taken from cars. Now, they're going through the exhaustive process of trying to find all of the victims.

"Each person is basically a new case, a new charge," Carroll said.

Officers found an H3 Hummer in west Salt Lake City that they say Chatwin stole after his escape, although he is still on the run. Detectives say they feel confident they will find Chatwin, but are still asking people to look out for him.

Photos

Mike Anderson

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