Inmate Released From Jail After Impersonating Another Inmate
Feb 26, 2020, 9:17 PM | Updated: Jun 22, 2022, 3:07 pm
OGDEN, Utah – An inmate at the Weber County Jail disguised himself as a fellow inmate and managed to escape. Officials said they don’t believe the escapee was dangerous, but they’re asking for help to find him.
The escapee was identified as Kaleb Wiewandt from California.
Deputies said Wiewandt was able to break free by assuming the identity of a fellow jail inmate who was scheduled to be released.
“This is extremely rare,” said Lt. Joshua Marigoni of the Weber County Sheriff’s Office.
Officials said they believed Wiewandt had help in pulling off the escape.
“We do believe that other inmates were involved,” said Marigoni. “We do have a release procedure. He was able to successfully pass our release procedure.”
Marigoni said Wiewandt checked in with a full head of hair, but shaved it to look more like Matthew Belnap, whose sentence for retail theft was just about up.
“Mr. Wiewandt was able to get Mr. Belnap’s identification, as well as his personal information, to pass our two-step process that’s our policy for release,” said Marigoni.
Officials said it was unclear why Belnap would willingly give Wiewandt information like his birthdate and social security number.
That information was enough for Wiewandt to casually walk out the front door of the jail and head east down 12th Street.
“We’re asking that any business owners or any community members in that area that may have video footage could contact us, contact our investigative team,” said Marigoni.
Weiwandt was being held for US Marshals on charges of identity theft. He was sentenced in 2015 to 51 months in prison and ordered to pay $1.1 million for an elaborate plan to steal several million postage stamps, according to a release from the U.S. Department of Justice.
According to Belnap’s arresting documents, he told Wiewandt that he was set to be released after having that confirmed in court earlier in the day.
Deputies said the two lived in the same area in the jail, and were then able to trade places ahead of the release.
Belnap will no longer be leaving the jail. He was instead being held on suspicion of obstruction of justice.
An arrest affidavit said jail staff found emails Wiewandt sent a woman, saying he’d be out of jail soon, and would need a ride.