A 21-year-old Moab man was arrested Thursday, Nov. 26 after an investigation by Moab Police Department officers led to the discovery stolen firearms — including an MP-15 rifle — in his home.
Charles “Tony” Nelson was arrested after officers obtained a search warrant and conducted surveillance on a home in the 1500 block of Huntcreek Drive. According to Moab Police Chief Jim Winder, the investigation began after a citizen reported that three firearms were taken from a vehicle parked in the 800 block of Millcreek Drive between Nov. 22 and Nov. 24. The three firearms that were reported missing were a Smith & Wesson M&P AR-15 rifle, a Smith & Wesson SB40VE .40 caliber handgun and a Kimber Custom 2 1911 .45 caliber handgun.
The investigation and surveillance operation began in earnest after a Moab resident reported to MPD that Nelson allegedly showed him the three firearms on Nov. 23. According to the witness’ statement, Nelson allegedly told the individual, “... not to ask questions he didn’t want to know the answer to,” in reference to where the firearms came from.
With surveillance underway, officers from MPD observed Nelson leaving his home on Nov. 26 and made contact with him. According to the MPD report, Nelson initially declined to speak with officers, though once the search warrant was served, he reportedly agreed to show officers where the firearms were located.
“[Nelson] told us that there were two firearms in the garage in a bin,” the report states. “He also told us that the other firearm was buried in the backyard. He told us he would show us where they were at because he didn’t want to have his mother disturbed any more than she had already been.”
Winder stated that the arrest is an important one, given allegations of Nelson’s criminal record.
“Mr. Nelson is a convicted felon and is not allowed to possess firearms,” Winder said. “He admitted to the theft and led officers to the stolen firearms, which were located in various locations in the home and buried in the backyard. Mr. Nelson was arrested on multiple felony charges and transported to [jail].”
Nelson was booked in the Grand County Jail on four third-degree felony charges of possession of a firearm by a restricted person, two second-degree felony theft charges and a single misdemeanor charge of burglary of a vehicle. He was held in lieu of a $25,000 bail.
Nelson’s arraignment in Moab’s Seventh District Court was set for Tuesday, Nov. 28. A date for his preliminary hearing was not available by press time.