Napping Burglar Arrested for Possession of a Dangerous Weapon by a Restricted Person

A Utah burglar caught napping on the job was arrested for multiple charges including possession of a dangerous weapon by a restricted person.

Napping burglar

Photo by: Ken

37 year old Thomas Luke Shupe was arrested after a woman found Shupe sleeping in her Huntsville Utah cabin after he pilfered it of beer and prescription drugs. Shupe left the scene but was later apprehended by police. While being arrested for the burglary, Shupe was also found to be in possession of a handgun that had been stolen from another cabin. Shupe was on probation following a previous arrest and as a Category I restricted person, should not have been in possession of a firearm. Shupe was arrested for several misdemeanors and second degree felonies including possession of a dangerous weapon by a restricted person.

Possession of a dangerous weapon by a restricted person

When someone is convicted of certain crimes, they may temporarily or permanently lose their right to possess a firearm or other dangerous weapon. This is known as being a restricted person. There are several reasons as to why someone would be considered a restricted person and there are varying degrees of severity related to those restrictions. According to Utah Code 76-10-503, “A Category I restricted person is a person who:

• Has been convicted of any violent felony . . . ;
• Is on probation or parole for any felony;
• is on parole from a secure facility . . .;
• [was charged for a violent felony as a minor within the last 10 years];
• is on probation for a conviction of possessing:
(A) a substance classified . . . as a Schedule I or II controlled substance;
(B) a controlled substance analog; or
(C) [their synthetic equivalents]”

Possession of a dangerous weapon by a Category I restricted person is a second degree felony if the weapon is a firearm or a third degree felony for other weapons. “A Category II restricted person is a person who:

• has ever been convicted of a felony; . . .
• [was charged for a felony as a minor within the last 7 years];
• . . . is in possession of a Schedule I or II controlled substance [while being in possession of a weapon];
• Has been found not guilty by reason of insanity . . . or mentally incompetent to stand trial for a felony offense; . . .
• Has been dishonorably discharged from the armed forces;
• Has renounced [their] citizenship . . . ;
• Is a respondent or defendant subject to a protective order or child protective order . . . ;
• Has been convicted of the commission or attempted commission of [domestic violence].”

Possession of a dangerous weapon by a Category II restricted person is a third degree felony if the weapon is a firearm or a class A misdemeanor if another weapon is used.

Know your restrictions

It is important for anyone previously charged with a crime to know their restrictions when it comes to weapons. When purchasing a firearm, a background check is usually performed that will alert gun sellers to anyone who is considered a restricted person. Unfortunately, sometimes there are flaws in the system such as what happened recently regarding the files of those found mentally incompetent not being received by the system that categorizes restricted persons. While these systems usually catch restricted persons attempting to purchase weapons, mistakes can happen which does not excuse a restricted person found in possession of a dangerous weapon. They can still face charges for possession of a weapon by a restricted person. The same goes to anyone who buys, borrows, or steals a weapon from a private party non vendor. Anyone who has been convicted of a crime should be responsible for carefully researching the terms of their probation or release to determine whether or not they will ever be allowed to own a firearm or other dangerous weapon. Restricted persons caught unlawfully with a weapon are encouraged to seek legal counsel immediately.

Marijuana Cultivation, Other Felony Charges for Spanish Fork Couple

marijuana cultivation for Spanish Fork couple

Photo: A7nubis/Wikimedia Commons

On Thursday, Feb. 26, a husband and wife in Spanish Fork were arrested on suspicion of marijuana cultivation for an operation set up in a shed on their property. The couple was booked into the Utah County Jail and is being investigated for numerous other felony and misdemeanor offenses.

That’s Why You Buy an RV

In the popular AMC television drama “Breaking Bad,” the main characters obtain a large RV which they drive to the middle of the desert and produce methamphetamines. One of the reasons they do this is the smell produced by the chemical reactions required to manufacture the drug. Edwin and Valerie Steward of Spanish Fork would’ve been wise to heed this bit of plot.

According to a report from KSL News, detectives performed a walk-by of the Steward residence on Saturday, Feb. 21, after receiving a tip that the couple was growing marijuana on their property. According to a probable cause statement, detectives picked up “the distinct odor of marijuana.”

Detectives returned Thursday with the Department of Child and Family Services on what KSL is calling “an unrelated case.” They asked for permission to search the Steward’s shed, but Valerie Steward refused to give consent. Not long after the visit, detectives observed the Stewards loading boxes into a truck “very rapid(ly).”

After the Stewards left the residence in the truck, officers performed a traffic stop and found numerous marijuana plants, soil, fertilizers, horticulture lights, and various other items used for marijuana cultivation.

Edwin Steward claimed the marijuana was for personal use. Both Stewards tested positive for THC, and Valerie Steward also tested positive for PCP. After Edwin signed a consent form, detectives found the shed to be “equipped for the cultivation of marijuana including a ventilation system.”

Apparently not a good enough one.

Two firearms were also located on the premises. When all was said and done, the couple is being investigated on suspicion of drug paraphernalia, marijuana cultivation, obstruction of justice, and possession of a firearm by a restricted person. All of the drug charges have the additional penalty dealing with the fact that the Steward’s lived in a Utah designated drug-free zone.

Marijuana Cultivation is a Felony

According to the Utah Criminal Code 57-37-8 of the Utah Controlled Substances Act as applies to the Stewards, it is “unlawful for any person to knowingly and intentionally; produce, manufacture, or dispense, or to possess with intent to produce, manufacture, or dispense, a controlled or counterfeit substance.” The Utah Code lists marijuana cultivation with Schedule III or IV substances as a third degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.

However, again, the Steward’s lived in a drug-free zone. A first degree felony is punishable by five years to life in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. Either way, marijuana cultivation is a very serious charge. If you or someone you know has been charged with marijuana cultivation—or any other charge—be sure to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. Don’t leave your future—or potential lack of one—in the hands of a public defender.