Couple are arrested at Lagoon, but man escapes
They allegedly stole info from more than 250 victims; woman tries to flee after he gets away.
Published: July 18, 2012 09:54AM
Updated: July 19, 2012 11:24PM
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Joseph Lee Chatwin Courtesy West Jordan Police Department

A couple who allegedly stole the personal information of more than 250 people in a crime spree were arrested Tuesday at a Lagoon campground in Farmington, though one escaped police custody.

West Jordan police are seeking 259 victims whose personal documents were allegedly stolen by Joseph Lee Chatwin and Shauntae Leah Stratton. The driver licenses, passports, credit cards and birth certificates were found inside a stolen motor home the couple had been living in before Tuesday’s arrest.

West Jordan police have published a list of victims, and are asking those whose documents may have been stolen to visit their website, http://bit.ly/ftwVcr, to see if their name is on the list. If so, they ask victims to call 801-256-2111 and reference case number 12H007190.

Stratton remains in custody, but police are still looking for Chatwin.

Farmington police Lt. Parish Snyder said the couple had been on a crime spree lasting several months, and had stolen a motorcycle and a utility trailer, as well as a motor home they paid for with a counterfeit check. Police believe the couple also burglarized several vehicles in Lagoon’s parking lot last month.

Snyder said they were contacted Tuesday by a West Jordan police detective who said his department had identified a couple suspected of stealing a motor home in that city as the same couple wanted in connection with the Lagoon vehicle burglaries.

A Farmington detective decided to search the Lagoon campgrounds on a hunch, Snyder said, and found the motor home and the couple.

When police started talking to the couple, Chatwin ran, Snyder said. Police eventually caught him and took the two in separate police cars to the Farmington police station for questioning.

Stratton was combative when an officer tried to place her in a holding cell, Snyder said, so the officer who was transporting Chatwin left him in the car and assisted in placing her in the cell.

“That left the male suspect unattended,” Snyder said. “He slipped his handcuffs, kicked out a rear window [of the police car], and escaped on foot.”

While the officers were searching for Chatwin, Stratton somehow escaped her holding cell and ran from the police station into a heavily wooded park nearby. A K-9 officer was able to locate the woman, and she was booked into the Davis County jail on a dozen charges, including vehicle burglary, theft, forgery and escape.

In the meantime, police received a phone call from a nearby resident whose 2007 Hummer was missing from his garage. Snyder said police believe Chatwin hopped a fence, went into the garage, saw the vehicle with the keys left in the ignition and drove off.

The Hummer was located on the west side of Salt Lake City, Snyder said, but Chatwin is still at large. Anyone who has information about Chatwin is asked to call West Jordan police at 801-256-2211.

jmiller@sltrib.com