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Police: Suspect held at gunpoint during burglary in Cache County shocked himself in interview room, tried to escape jail

Posted at 6:41 AM, Aug 03, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-03 09:22:10-04

CACHE COUNTY, Utah — A man is in custody after a bizarre crime spree that police say included stealing a car, breaking into a home, being held at gunpoint by a citizen, possibly faking an electrical injury and trying to escape from the jail.

Peter Silva, 40, was booked into jail Thursday on a long list of charges.

Deputies had encountered Silva at a Maverik in Wellsville late Wednesday night or early Thursday morning, when they say the man had tried to force entry into a citizen’s vehicle to charge his cell phone.

At the time Silva told police his phone was only at 2% charge, and officers didn’t feel they had probable charge to detain the man and released him.

A short time later deputies found an abandoned vehicle parked on State Road 101 at mile post 1, and based on earlier interactions with Silva they suspected he may have stolen the vehicle.

When they contacted the owner of the car, she told them the vehicle was supposed to be at a mechanic shop undergoing repairs and they did not know Silva. Police located a 9mm handgun inside that car.

Around 5 a.m. Thursday, dispatchers were notified of a reported prowler near 2778 West 5000 South in Cache County, and the description matched that of Silva. Police responded but did not locate the man, but 20 minutes later were called to a burglary in progress in the area of 5000 South and 2600 West.

Police arrived to find a citizen holding Silva at gunpoint inside his home. Police say they secured Silva and located methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia in his pockets along with a payroll check that appeared to have been stolen from the homeowner. They also found credit or debit cards belonging to another party.

Officer also located car keys belonging to the stolen and subsequently abandoned vehicle found earlier.

According to charging documents, Silva waived his Miranda rights and told police he had been on the way from Logan to Wellsville to see a girl but ended up at the Maverik where police first contacted him. He also admitted to using methamphetamine that day.

Silva further admitted to entering a home.

“He said a string led him there so he followed it and sat at the computer,” the document states. “Deputies observed a small gauged cable leading to the front door, which was used for an animal tether.”

The suspect was then taken to an interview room at the Cache County Sheriff’s Office, and police say he admitted to stealing the abandoned vehicle but said that wasn’t his fault because police in Logan Police had recently impounded his own vehicle, which he said was similar to the one he stole.

Police say Silva was erratic and appeared to be under the influence during the interview. While the officer stepped away to compile the charges or check on statements the man made, police say they observed Silva messing with the room, trying to tamper with the camera and trying to open the door.

Silva eventually removed a light switch and caused a breaker switch to blow and all the lights went out. Deputies handcuffed Silva and observed burn marks on his fingers.

He would not respond to questions about being injured but then later collapsed as though unconscious. Police took him to a hospital, where medical personnel noted the burns on his fingers but gave him medical clearance to be booked into jail.

Things were not quite over once they reached the jail, however, as police say Silva attempted to blend in with some volunteers leaving the jail.

“The jail control staff noticed Peter walk through the door and immediately called for deputies to stop him,” the document states. “Peter was able to make it to the Man Trap area between the two doors securing the jail, before deputies were able to secure him.”

Police note that the first homeowner who called about a prowler later provided surveillance footage that showed Silva walking around the home, ringing the doorbell and then helping himself to a water bottle from a cooler located on the property.

Police say Silva is a convicted felon with prior charges for methamphetamine, and that he tested positive for methamphetamine after a warrant was secured for a drug test.

Silva was booked on two counts of theft, one count of burglary of a dwelling, one count of forgery, one count of possession of a dangerous weapon by a restricted person, possession or use of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, theft of motor vehicle fuel, unlawful acquisition of a financial card, and escape from official custody.