Man allegedly found in stolen U-Haul with 10 cats, pit bull
A reportedly homeless man was arrested Wednesday after he was allegedly found staying in the back of a stolen U-Haul truck with 10 cats and a pit bull.
Steven James Richardson, 34, who lists “city streets” as his address, was taken into custody shortly before 1:30 p.m. and charged with theft by receiving over $25,000, punishable by up to 20 years in prison.
Richardson, who lists no prior felony history, remained in custody Thursday in lieu of a $5,000 bond and is set to appear on March 20 in Garland County District Court.
According to the probable cause affidavit, on Wednesday, a representative of U-Haul filed a report with the Garland County Sheriff’s Office regarding a stolen U-Haul truck.
He stated a U-Haul had been rented on Dec. 30, 2022, and was supposed to be returned the next day. The U-Haul, which had a value of $30,000, had an Arizona license plate and he provided the name it had been rented under.
Sheriff’s investigators located the U-Haul later that day in the parking lot of Walmart, 4019 Central Ave., and a computer check of the vehicle identification number confirmed it was the one reported stolen.
Investigators approached the vehicle and made contact with a man, identified as Richardson, who was in the back of the truck in the cargo area. He was detained and reportedly made a spontaneous statement that he had rented the U-Haul “sometime in early January” and had not had a chance to return it.
He reportedly admitted he had rented it in a friend’s name. He was taken into custody at that time and in searching the U-Haul further before transporting it, investigators discovered there were 10 cats and a pit bull in the cargo area.
Hot Springs Animal Control was notified and responded to the scene to take possession of the animals.