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Robbers steal wallet at gunpoint, police say

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SOUTH JORDAN — Two men who police believe robbed a woman of her credit cards and LDS temple recommend at gunpoint were arrested after allegedly leading members of the Unified Police Metro Gang Unit on a short chase early Friday.

Joseph Thornton, 34, and Michael Bacon, 44, were arrested for investigation of aggravated robbery, fleeing, possession of a stolen vehicle and fraudulent use of a credit card.

The incident began about 11:30 p.m. Thursday, when police were called to the Sleep Inn, 10676 S. Frontage Road, on a report of a woman who was robbed of her wallet at gunpoint, said South Jordan Police Sgt. Sam Winkler. Immediately, the suspects began using the woman's credit cards, giving investigators a trail to follow, Winkler said.

"Wal-Mart, Smith's, (the credit card) was used in three different locations throughout the Taylorsville and Salt Lake City areas," Winkler said.

During some of those fraudulent purchases, witnesses got a look at the suspects' vehicle. Detectives shared that information with other agencies in the valley.

About 3:15 a.m. Friday, an officer from the gang unit spotted a vehicle at 1300 S. State Street that matched the suspects' vehicle. He followed it onto I-15 and attempted to pull it over. Following a short chase, detectives spiked one of the fleeing vehicle's tires at the off-ramp at 3300 South, said Unified Police Lt. Justin Hoyal. An officer stopped the car by performing at PIT manuever, causing the vehicle to spin out.

The vehicle turned out to be stolen from South Salt Lake, he said.

"(Detectives) were able to find most of the stolen property (in the car), not all of it. And they were not able to find the firearm at this point," Winkler said.

The victim's credit cards were found under the driver's seat and her temple recommend was in the pocket of one of the men, according to a Salt Lake County Jail report.

Thorton was convicted in 2012 of felony drug possession and sentenced to 90 days in jail. In 2011, he was sentenced to a year in jail for attempted possession of a dangerous weapon by a restricted person and attempted aggravated assault. In 2004, he was sentenced to up to five years in prison for attempted burglary and aggravated assault, according to court records.

Bacon also has a criminal history. In 2007, he was sentenced for five felony convictions in separate state cases for up to five years in prison, with all sentences running concurrently. He was also indicted by a federal grand jury that same year for burglarizing a U.S. post office in Sigurd, according to court records.

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Pat Reavy


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