A Grantsville woman was honored last Wednesday for taking a bite out of crime.
Tara Baker was recognized at the Grantsville City Council meeting with the Citizen Service Award for her role in the arrest of three men who allegedly stole a heater out of a construction site last month.
“In this day and age I think it takes a brave person to intervene when there’s a crime,” said Grantsville City Police Chief Kevin Turner at the meeting.
Baker said on Feb. 28, her two young sons came into the house and told her some older boys were driving around the neighborhood, yelling at them and flipping them off. She yelled at the driver and passenger in the car her boys identified, and then saw them stop at an unfinished home in Anderson Ranch. One got out of the car, went into the garage, and came out a few moments later carrying something, she said.
“I yelled at them, ‘Don’t you think you should put that back?’ And they saw me and said, ‘Oh, sh–,’ and drove away. So I jumped in my car and followed them,” Baker said.
She called Tooele County Dispatch to report the crime, then followed the men’s car from Anderson Ranch to South Willow Estates, giving police street-by-street directions of their movements.
From Baker’s initial call to when officers caught and arrested the suspects, just seven minutes had elapsed.
Officers arrested Bailey Dimick, 21; Andrew Howlett, 22; and Kenneth Russell, 21, for the alleged burglary. All three men, from Grantsville, were charged with theft and obstructing justice, both class A misdemeanors.
Russell has since pleaded guilty to the theft charge, and his obstructing justice charged was dismissed, and awaits sentencing next month. Dimick and Howlett both pleaded not guilty to their respective charges and await preliminary hearings next month.
Baker said her motivation in following the suspected burglars and phoning police was to help keep her children safe.
“My kids — that’s what I was worried about,” she said. “There are a lot of kids in this neighborhood.”
She has since talked with neighbors about organizing a neighborhood watch and implementing other safety measures. Baker said she’s glad she took action when she did, and hopes others will report crimes if they see them happen.
“I’m not saying everyone should jump in their car and follow burglars. But if you see something, call it in,” she said. “I’d do it again. I just hope other people aren’t so afraid to call.”