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Police arrest campers near Arches National Park

GRAND COUNTY– Police arrested campers in Grand County on multiple charges, saying they violated camping restrictions put in place due to COVID-19.

On Wednesday, police received a call about “a suspicious male on the bike path near Arches National Park,” according to a police affidavit.

At the scene, Utah Highway Patrol and Grand County Sheriff’s Office found Robert John Letterman, 56. Letterman told officers he was having car troubles and was attempting to return to his vehicle.

The officers offered to give Letterman a ride back to his car and Letterman accepted. Upon arriving at the vehicle, police discovered Letterman had been “camping out of a white F150 truck.” Police said Letterman “admitted to having been warned about illegal camping by multiple officers.”

Arches National Park is closed to non-residents of Grand County to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Additionally, Southeast Utah Health Department has restricted all camping in Grand County since March.

“Nonresidents are not allowed to camp, including developed and primitive sites,” the Grand County Sheriff’s Office notified residents in March. “It should be noted that all nonresident campers are currently being contacted by law enforcement officers. … Citations can and will be issued, especially in instances of repeat offenders.”

Officers contacted their colleagues in dispatch and requested a records check on the truck. Dispatch later confirmed that the vehicle was listed as stolen.

Police then noticed Joy Letterman Featherstone, 55, “exit the driver seat of the vehicle.” After police confirmed the truck was stolen, they placed both Letterman and Featherstone in restraints.

While Featherstone refused to talk to the police, Letterman told them he had “a marijuana pipe in the vehicle” and the truck had been “rented out of California and was originally due to be returned the first week in March.”

Deputies searched the truck and found marijuana, methamphetamine, and drug paraphernalia.

Both Letterman and Featherstone were charged with vehicle theft, two counts of drug possession, and violation of public health laws.

The couple was placed under arrest and transported to the Grand County Jail.