IDHAO FALLS — Police say a theft suspect in Idaho Falls fell through the ceiling tiles of a local restaurant Tuesday evening while running from officers.
The Idaho Falls Police Department was looking for Jesse James Moore, 38, a suspect in two theft cases from earlier that day. The search was a rather unique one, allegedly involving children’s bicycles, stolen deli ham, and the suspect locking himself in a women’s bathroom in an attempt to escape into the ceiling of a Subway restaurant, according to an affidavit of probable cause.
The search began earlier Tuesday when a woman called officers around 6 p.m. saying someone stole her son’s BMX bicycle at the skate park on Rollandet Avenue. A man, allegedly wearing a Tyrannosaurus rex T-shirt, came up to her son and asked to buy the $480 bike. The boy declined and when he turned around for a second, the unknown man got onto the bike and rode away.
Then at 9 p.m., the Idaho Falls Police department went to WinCo Foods after a man reported someone had stolen his Harley-Davidson motorcycle after he went inside to buy groceries. In place of the motorcycle, the man discovered the BMX bike that police had been called about earlier in the evening.
As police investigated, the woman whose son’s bike was stolen called officers saying someone named Jesse James could have stolen the motorcycle. Police then considered Moore the suspect in both thefts.
Additional officers arrived in the area and searched for Moore. The motorcycle owner found the stolen Harley-Davidson parked in front of Planet Fitness on Woodruff Avenue, just across the street from WinCo. The owner said the fuel cutoff switch was on, and the bike would have not run for very long if the suspect did not know this.
Officers spotted Moore walking toward the Subway in the same parking lot as the gym. Moore went into the sandwich shop and locked himself in the women’s restroom. Police heard rustling inside, and Moore refused to come out. Additional sounds came from the restroom indicated Moore might have been trying to get into the ceiling.
The owner of the Subway then kicked open the restroom door. Officers rushed inside and found pieces of the ceiling around Moore, who lay on the ground, having fallen from the ceiling. Moore refused to come out of a closed stall, and police pulled him out by his feet. Moore was wearing the same dinosaur T-shirt as reported earlier, according to police.
Inside the ceiling, officers found Moore’s shoes and a knife. Idaho Falls Police Department spokeswoman Jessica Clements also said police found a large wad of ham wrapped in butcher paper while searching Moore.
“The (Subway) employees reported the man had been in the store earlier in the day, several times, and had actually come behind the counter, filled out an application for a job and attempted to help them with service,” Clements said.
When Moore reportedly left the store, they noticed a stack of deli meat missing.
Officers arrested Moore and took him to the Bonneville County Jail.
Moore is charged with felony grand theft for the motorcycle and misdemeanor petty theft for the bicycle, according to charging documents. He was also charged with misdemeanor malicious injury to property for the damage done to the restaurant as well as another count of petty theft for the ham.
Although Moore is accused of crimes, it does not necessarily mean he committed them. Everyone is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
A preliminary hearing for Moore is scheduled for June 2.