A man with a long criminal history is facing life in prison after his latest arrest on St. Thomas.
Vaughn McHargue, 52, was already in jail when he was arrested again Tuesday and charged with aiding and abetting third-degree burglary, grand larceny, and destruction of property in connection with a jewelry store break-in on June 10.
The incident occurred at around 4 a.m. at Okindanokh Goldcraft in Palm Passage, where police responded to an activated alarm and found a white man holding a bolt cutter, according to the affidavit filed by V.I. Police.
The man, who was later identified as McHargue, fled the area and drove away in a dark colored SUV, police said.
Officers inspected the area and found that the bar of nearby Amalia Café “was ransacked and burglarized as well.”
Surveillance footage showed two suspects burglarizing area businesses with a crowbar. Both men had their faces covered, but one of the men briefly lowered the mask and an officer recognized him as McHargue from “several” previous interactions, according to the affidavit.
McHargue was wearing the same clothing as in surveillance footage taken from La Delicia Bar in Contant, which was burglarized the same day.
There was no one in the restaurant when police arrived but officers reviewed surveillance video that “clearly showed Mr. Vaughn McHargue breaking the door and driving a stolen vehicle,” according to the affidavit in the previous case.
Police identified that it was a WAPA-owned vehicle, and WAPA later explained to them that a WAPA employee left the vehicle, with the keys inside, at Petrus Plaza on the waterfront before returning to St. Croix. Another WAPA employee was supposed to pick it up, but before they could retrieve it, McHargue apparently took it, according to the affidavit.
WAPA used the vehicle’s GPS tracking system and traced it to Anna’s Fancy and Altona and Welgunst, where they found McHargue with the vehicle and placed him under arrest later that day.
In a video recorded interview, McHargue confessed to several other crimes, including burglarizing the Okindanokh Goldcraft jewelry store “and many more businesses located throughout Veterans Drive and the Main Street area,” according to police.
On July 20, the store owner provided police with a list of items taken during the burglary, including a sterling silver necklace worth $550, a “Unisex Tsavorite (Green Garnet) Oval) worth $3,400, two pairs of prescription glasses valued at $650, and a display bust valued at $25.
Police interviewed McHargue in jail again Tuesday, and he provided another confession to the crime. McHargue identified his co-conspirator as Craig Stevens, also known as “The Runner,” according to police.
McHargue admitted he and Stevens broke into the store and “expressed how sorry he was for burglarizing same.”
McHargue’s criminal history dates back to 1987, and has continued since he moved to the territory about four years ago.
He appeared in court Wednesday where Assistant V.I. Attorney General Brenda Scales said he is a recidivist and “is eligible for habitual offender treatment, where he would be in jail for the rest of his life.”
Magistrate Judge Carolyn Hermon-Percell kept bail in the case at $25,000 cash.