Alert neighbor credited for helping police nab 2 suspects after theft

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COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS — Police praised an alert neighbor who led officers to two suspects Tuesday after a theft, including one man with a long rap sheet.

Officers arrested Joshua Wayne Westbrook, 33, and Alexander Lewis Westbrook, 23. Police said the men are brothers and partners in crime.

They said two men didn’t go unnoticed when they hit a home in the area of 7300 South and 1950 East.

“(The neighbor) watches them, sees them take a ladder, put it in their Mustang and drive off,” said Cottonwood Heights Police Sgt. Corbett Ford.

That neighbor got a partial license plate number and called police.

“He was paying attention, he was a good witness. He got us information that was absolutely critical,” Ford said.

After some detective work, the officer tracked down the Mustang and discovered the registered owner has a history of pawning.

“(The officer) took that one step further and then did some research with the pawn databases for the state,” Ford said.

He was paying attention, he was a good witness. He got us information that was absolutely critical.

–Sgt. Corbett Ford, Cottonwood Heights PD

The officer went to different pawn shops in the area and got lucky at Xtreme Pawn, at 7106 South Redwood Road.

“As he’s arriving up to the pawn shop, he sees the blue colored Mustang leaving the pawn shop,” Ford said.

Police said the men in the Mustang had just pawned the stolen ladder.

“We were able to recover the property before the homeowner even knew the property was stolen,” Ford said.

He said that’s the payoff for neighbors looking out for each other.

“Those things that you find suspicious, pay attention and be a good witness and call the police — and that’s what happened here,” Ford said.

A manager at Xtreme Pawn Shop told KSL News customers selling items must show ID and sign paperwork that says the item belongs to them. He said all pawn shops are required by law to keep an updated database of every item in-store.

Officers can access that information when investigating stolen property cases. The pawn shop manager said his store has a good working relationship with police.

Court records show Joshua Westbrook has a criminal history that includes theft and drug charges. At the time of his arrest, he was on probation for a recent drug conviction.

In January, Alexander Westbrook pleaded not guilty to a misdemeanor drug charge. That case is pending in court.


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