Public input helped lead police to VanWinkle
One person is under arrest after a break-in last week at the Moab Grill and two attempted break-ins at nearby businesses. The suspect gave police the names of three other people he said were involved during the evening of the break-in, but according to Moab Police Chief Bret Edge, one of the people may not exist and the two others likely had no involvement.
After he was arrested, Ryan VanWinkle, age 32, allegedly told police that he had attempted to break into the Canyonlands Texaco on South Main Street. According to police, VanWinkle said that he had seen security footage of the attempted break-in on the Moab Police Department’s Facebook. Police said VanWinkle later admitted to being involved in the two other incidents, as well.
Police arrested VanWinkle on Nov. 16, two days after the Facebook post went up, after a person called police dispatch to say that they had just seen VanWinkle near the Gonzo Inn and recognized him from the video.
Crimes and admissions
On Nov. 12, burglars broke into the Moab Grill by throwing a rock through one of the restaurant’s windows; they then stole and broke bottles of alcohol that police later found around and outside the business.
VanWinkle later told police that he had taken some beer during that incident but had not thrown the rock through the window. Police said that the tread on the shoes VanWinkle was wearing when they arrested him matched the tread of shoe prints at the restaurant.
Later during the evening of the break-in, security footage recorded at the Texaco, across the street from the Moab Grill, allegedly showed VanWinkle attempting to break into the convenience store. Two days later, Moab City Police posted the footage to Facebook, and VanWinkle later told police when he was arrested that he had seen the post and that he was the person shown in the video.
Two days after the break-in at the Moab Grill, police received reports an attempted break-in at the Blu Pig. Employees showed police markings on a window that appeared to indicate someone had forcefully thrown an object against it but not broken it.
VanWinkle later admitted to police — after initially denying — that he was present for the incident at the Blu Pig but that someone else had thrown the rock.
VanWinkle faces charges for burglary, criminal mischief and theft. He also faces a misdemeanor charge of tampering with evidence after allegedly telling police that he had burned the coat and beanie he wore when he attempted to break into the Texaco.
According to court documents filed by police, VanWinkle said that he “was told to get rid of the evidence,” apparently after police posted the security footage from the Texaco.