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Final suspect in smoke shop robbery arrested

(Courtesy South Jordan Police Department)



Estimated read time: 3-4 minutes

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SOUTH JORDAN — The last of three men suspected of robbing a South Jordan smoke shop where a clerk was beaten with a rock Monday was arrested Saturday.

Gage King, 20, called police Saturday afternoon and turned himself over to detectives, said South Jordan police officer Sam Winkler. He was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail for investigation of robbery.

The two other men were arrested after police released detailed photos of the men on Thursday from surveillance footage. Cole Covington, 20, of Saratoga Springs, was arrested Thursday afternoon. Brandon Dvorak, a native of Mississippi who was staying at a residence in Sandy, turned himself in to police later that evening.

Winkler said the three arrests were made largely thanks to tips from members of the public after police released the pictures. Social media not only played a role in identifying the suspects, but in encouraging them to turn themselves in, he said.

"We believe because the pressure he (King) was feeling on social media and through the media sites on this story, because of the exposure that it received, that he did contact our detectives today and arranged a meeting and he turned himself into detectives," Winkler said Saturday.


(Tips) were coming in through our Facebook page, through calls into our office, media Facebook pages also. The hit on this was enormous, and we can't thank the members of the community enough on their involvement in this.

–Officer Sam Winkler, SJPD


"We were receiving more tips than our dispatch center could honestly handle," he said. "They were coming in through our Facebook page, through calls into our office, media Facebook pages also. The hit on this was enormous, and we can't thank the members of the community enough on their involvement in this."

King is believed to have used a rock or a piece of cinder block to assault the clerk of the Smoke Spot, 1074 W. South Jordan Parkway, causing multiple facial fractures, a broken jaw and other head injuries. Police say it doesn't appear Covington or Dvorak harmed the clerk, but they did nothing to stop the assault or render aid.

The three men then fled with an undisclosed amount of cash.

Police later discovered that King, who is from an area near Rock Springs, Wyoming, posted a comment about 5 p.m. Friday on SweetwaterNOW.com, a news website in that area.


Our friend with the broken jaw called the police two days after the fact and his video was cropped not showing why I hit (him). ... Guess what? I'd be dead had I not. Love you all.

–Gage King, SweetwaterNOW.com post


"Hi I'm Gage," he allegedly wrote. "I was the one that was going to get (severely) hurt had i not done that. Our friend with the broken jaw called the police two days after the fact and his video was cropped not showing why I hit (him). I'm not going to prison and am in contact with law enforcement. Guess what? I'd be dead had I not. Love you all."

Winkler said King previously spent time in jail for charges related to burglary in Wyoming, and South Jordan police will be working with other jurisdictions to determine whether he has other pending charges.

"We're very glad he is off the streets," Winkler said.

The 33-year-old store clerk was released from the hospital Thursday after undergoing surgery. He declined to comment Saturday.

Contributing: Sandra Yi

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