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Blanding Police Identify Alleged Thief of 1,000 Items

Courtesy of Blanding Police
Approximately 1,000 stolen items were found at a Blanding man's home.

The suspect in a string of shoplifting reports has been identified by Blanding Police as Michael Ainsworth Yoakam. 

Yoakam moved from California to Blanding earlier this year and was arrested last week after allegedly stealing items across San Juan County. The suspect was allegedly seen shoplifting at a 7-Eleven in Blanding, leading to a search warrant for his home where approximately 1,000 stolen items were found.


Chief Jason Torgerson said the majority of the items appear to have been shoplifted from stores as far north as Moab and as far south as Goulding’s in Monument Valley.


“The problem we’re having is that businesses identifying items buy from the same vendor,” Torgerson said. Aside from any store-branded tags left on items, Torgerson added that it’s difficult to differentiate where they were stolen from.


Recovered items include dreamcatchers, pottery, jewelry and other goods often found at souvenir shops in the region. Some shop owners looking to claim stolen items had not realized they were missing inventory, while others had filed reports over the past few months.


Blanding Police’s investigation is ongoing, but a possible motive for the suspect was to resell the items found at his house. Yoakam is currently held at San Juan County Jail in Monticello.