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Man arrested on investigation of ‘stealing from BYU for multiple months’

By Liesl Nielsen, | Posted - Sep 25th, 2018 @ 7:00pm

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PROVO — A man who police say has been stealing from students and employees at Brigham Young University for several months was arrested and booked into jail Monday, according to jail records.

Joshua Aaron Kemp, 34, was booked into jail on suspicion of theft, using stolen credit and debit cards and possession of heroin and paraphernalia.

At the end of January, university police received a report of a stolen backpack at an athletic building on BYU’s campus, jail records show. Video footage of the area showed a white male in his late 20s or early 30s taking the backpack and leaving the building. The backpack was later recovered, but the victim’s wallet, holding cash and credit cards, was missing.

In early August, a BYU employee reported the theft of her wallet from the same building where the first victim’s backpack was stolen. The thief used her credit card to buy a $50 gift card from Kneaders in Provo and attempted to use the card at Sonic Drive-In and Arby’s, but the card was declined, jail records state.

Video footage of the area showed the employee's wallet being taken by the same white male from the January theft, according to jail records.

Police then sent out an email to detectives in Utah County in an attempt to identify the man in the video footage, according to jail records. A detective in Springville identified the man as Kemp, who, the detective said, had a history of theft and credit card fraud. The detective indicated he was also looking for Kemp.

Officials found that pictures from Kemp’s Facebook, booking photos and driver’s license matched with the person shown in the video, jail records indicate.

In mid-September, a store manager saw a man entering an office for employees at the BYU Bookstore, according to jail records. The manager of the store confronted him, and the man fled with an employee’s phone, driver’s license and some bank cards, jail records state. Video footage captured the incident, and the bookstore manager later identified the man as Kemp. The employee's phone was ultimately recovered and returned to its owner.

About a week later, another wallet was reported stolen from a BYU office, and a credit card in the wallet was used at some local businesses in Provo and Springville. One of the business’s security cameras showed Kemp using the card, jail records state.

The next day, someone else reported that their wallet was stolen from a chair while they were running on a track in a fieldhouse on BYU campus. The wallet contained $50 cash and a debit card, among other items. Video footage "showed the suspect was Josh Kemp," according to jail records.

The same day, another victim reported a stolen backpack from the same athletic building where the January theft had occurred several months prior, jail records state. The backpack was later recovered, but a wallet containing $10 cash and two credit cards was missing from it.

“Kemp has been stealing from BYU for multiple months,” jail records state.

BYU law enforcement officials were searching for Kemp in Springville Monday when they recognized and apprehended the 34-year-old. Kemp was found with multiple credit and debit cards belonging to another person, as well as a hypodermic needle and a “small twist of what appears to be heroin,” according to jail records.

Police booked Kemp into the Utah County Jail later that day.

Kemp has previously been found guilty of theft, burglary and credit card fraud in Utah.


Liesl Nielsen

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Updated: Monday November 12, 2018 12:36 pm