A man with an extensive criminal background picked the wrong cabin to steal from on the La Sal Mountains in June. When former Grand County Sheriff Jim Nyland found items missing from his cabin, he chased down the thief with help from authorities.
Jason Pogue, 39, of Moab, was charged with 18 counts of criminal conduct on July 4 after breaking into several cabins on the La Sal Mountains, according to the San Juan County Sheriff’s Office.
This isn’t Pogue’s first arrest for theft and burglary. In March 2009 Pogue was arrested in Emery County and was charged with 30 counts of criminal conduct relating to thefts from camps and ranches over a two year period in the Chimney Rock area. He was known as the Chimney Rock thief, according to a story published in the Emery County Progress.
Items stolen in June from Nyland’s cabin included food, personal items, 12 gallons of gasoline and a 2007 Yamaha Rhino off highway vehicle. Deputies from San Juan County had started an investigation the week before, but hadn’t yet found the perpetrator.
On Independence Day Nyland was in the La Sals with his grandson hoping he might find some of the stolen belongings.
“I was driving on Two Mile Road with my grandson when a white Ford truck with a Rhino in the back passed me,” Nyland said. “Lo and behold it was my Rhino.”
Nyland was able to identify it as his due to a piece of metal he screwed onto the bumper to put on registration stickers.
“I gave chase,” Nyland said. Nyland said Pogue tried to elude him by taking a side road back into the trees. Nyland knew he needed back-up and went back to the road where he could get cell service.
He called the San Juan Sheriff’s Office. They sent deputies.
He then called the Manti-Lasal National Forest office, which had a forest ranger at Buckeye Lake.
Then he called Grand County Sheriff Steve White. “Steve was on the north side of the mountain,” Nyland said. “He said he’d meet me at Taylor Flat.”
The forest ranger, deputies from San Juan County, Sheriff White and Nyland surrounded the Pogue at Taylor Flat.
“We worried about him running on us,” said Det. Jason Torgerson, San Juan County Sheriff’s Office. “We were cautious because of the guns.”
Pogue had six stolen guns with him in the truck, but all were in bags that he was not able to access during the chase.
“I was just glad to get my stuff back,” Nyland said.
The San Juan Sheriff’s Office received a few reports of burglary and theft on the mountain, but were also able to recover items stolen that their owners did not yet know were taken, including the white Ford truck Pogue was driving with Nyland’s Rhino in the back.
Pogue was breaking into cabins while camping at Rattlesnake Pond, Torgerson said. Officers recovered a four-wheeler found in Dark Canyon Lake that they believe Pogue stole in Sanpete County.
Pogue was cooperative after his arrest and told authorities that he left his camp at Rattlesnake Pond because the water wasn’t good and he got diarrhea. He then moved his camp to Wray Mesa above Old LaSal.
Officers found more stolen items at Pogue’s camp on Wray Mesa. Officers also recovered items Pogue had thrown off the cliff, including a KTM motorcycle stolen from Moab and the truck camper that was originally on the back of the stolen white Ford truck Pogue was driving when he was captured.
Pogue was charged with six counts of restricted person in possession of a firearm, due to his previous felony convictions in Emery County. He was also charged with six counts of burglary and six counts of theft.
“We are thankful for all the help we got from Moab city and Grand County to solve this crime,” Torgerson said.