Convict Comes Up With Weird Escape Plan, It Works

Somehow convinces another inmate to help him impersonate that inmate
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 26, 2020 6:57 PM CST
Updated Feb 27, 2020 12:34 AM CST
Man Poses as Fellow Inmate to Escape From Prison: Police
This 2019 photo provided by the Weber County Sheriff's Office shows inmate Kaleb Wiewandt.   (Weber County Sheriff's Office via AP)

A California man convicted of mail fraud escaped from a Utah jail Tuesday night by posing as a fellow inmate whose time had come to be released, authorities said Wednesday. Kaleb Wiewandt was allowed to leave the jail in Ogden, Utah, because staff thought he was inmate Matthew Belnap, said Weber County Sheriff's Lt. Joshua Marigoni, per the AP. Belnap was supposed to be freed Tuesday night after spending more than 70 days in jail after pleading no contest to retail theft charges. But when jail staff called for Belnap to gather his belongings, surveillance footage shows it was Wiewandt who grabbed his stuff and left, according to court documents. Belnap, 36, has been charged with obstruction of justice for his role in the escape. It's unknown why he allegedly agreed to help Wiewandt.

On Monday, Belnap allegedly helped Wiewandt shave his head to look like him and he also gave Wiewandt his identification card, authorities said. Wiewandt recited Belnap's date of birth and Social Security number to jail staff before he was released. Wiewandt, 40, is from Orange County, Calif., and authorities believe he might try to go there but think he's still in the Ogden area. He had emailed with a woman about plans to pick him up from the jail Tuesday night, according to jail staff. Wiewandt had been in the jail since December, one month after he was arrested in California for having escaped a halfway house for parolees in Utah in September 2018. He was at the halfway house as part of his supervised release after he pleaded guilty in 2015 to mail and wire fraud in a federal court in Arizona.

(More escaped criminal stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.