Suspect in Zabriskie burglary has extensive criminal background

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SALT LAKE CITY -- The Salt Lake City Police Department has named a primary suspect in the burglary of the home of cyclist David Zabriskie. Officers say they are looking for 39-year-old Leopold Jay Howard.

It appears Howard likes to run from the law, and he's still on the run. Tuesday, Howard took off when he showed up at a home officers were searching.

Police served search warrants at five different homes as part of the investigation into the burglary at cycling star David Zabriskie's home last month, but Howard was wanted even before that burglary.

In January, he was due in court to face charges on another theft case. Howard was out of jail on supervised release, but he never showed up for that first court appearance.

Last summer, prosecutors charged him with multiple counts of theft for allegedly stealing tools from a Salt Lake County home. Prosecutors say Howard then tried to pawn the tools, valued at more than a $1,000, at two different pawn shops in the Salt Lake Valley.

"If a person who is in that situation continues to engage in criminal activity, it's very frustrating and very concerning to us," said Alicia Cook, deputy district attorney for Salt Lake County.

Through court records, we also discovered that Howard was also once a wanted man in Idaho. The Bonneville County Sheriff's Office in Idaho Falls issued a warrant for Howard's arrest for felony eluding. He was found in Salt Lake County in 2003 and extradited to face those charges.

Police in Salt Lake named Howard the main suspect in the Zabriskie home burglary after following up on some evidence and talking to Arthur Roll, who was in possession of one of Zabriskie's stolen cars.

Some of Zabriskie's items have been recovered, including one bike, bike parts and a car. Items still missing include: 12 bicycles worth close to $100,000, a flat-screen television, three Mac computers, an Olympic ring, some medals and seven Marvel sideshow statues.

"A lot of times in burglaries people will put things in garbage cans. They'll ask friends to store stuff in their home and not tell them if the stuff is stolen," said Sgt. Robin Snyder, spokeswoman for the Salt Lake City Police Department.

Howard is 5 feet 6 inches tall, weighs approximately 145 pounds and has brown hair and eyes. He has a scar across the top of his nose.

Police believe he may have disguised himself. "They do know that he had dyed his hair bright red, and that could be changed here pretty soon if he knows that we're after him now. He's probably going to change his looks a little bit," Snyder said.

Anyone with information about this case or Howard's whereabouts should call 801-799-INFO.


Story compiled with contributions from Courtney Orton and Sandra Yi.

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