OGDEN — Prosecutors allege that a Pleasant View man in the Weber County Jail actively helped another inmate escape the jail earlier this week.
Two charges were filed Thursday against 36-year-old Matthew Kyle Belnap — single counts of escape — aiding and abetting and obstructing justice, both third-degree felonies.
Belnap, who is in the custody of the Weber County Jail, is accused of helping another man escape from incarceration. Police believe Belnap helped Kaleb Wiewandt escape the jail Tuesday evening.
Charging documents allege that Belnap gave Wiewandt his inmate identification card, birth date and social security number in anticipation of Belnaps’s scheduled release for Tuesday evening.
When Belnap’s name was called over a loudspeaker so he could be released, surveillance video showed Belnap remained in his jail cell and did not move, according to charging documents. At the same time, Wiewandt began to gather his items and leave the housing pod.
Wiewandt was able to give jail staff Belnap’s ID card, birth date and social security number before he was released. Police also say that on Monday, the day prior, Wiewandt shaved his head in an attempt to look more like Belnap.
Court records show Belnap had pleaded no contest to a felony shoplifting charge that day, Feb. 25. He was sentenced to time served, which as of Tuesday was 73 days in jail, and he was ordered to be released the same day.
Police were able to piece together what had happened within hours. A probable cause statement showed an officer was notified by a superior of Wiewandt’s escape roughly three hours later.
Investigators combed through Wiewandt’s emails and found that he had corresponded with a woman in California the same day of his escape saying he was going to be released that day, according to charging documents.
In an updated press release Wednesday from the Weber County Sheriff’s Office, investigators believe Wiewandt may still be in the Weber County area, as he may still be waiting on the woman to pick him up. Police believe Wiewandt may be trying to go back to the Orange County area of California, where he is from.
Officials added in the release that Wiewandt’s escape has prompted an internal review, so that the sheriff’s office can, “understand what changes we can make to avoid this from happening in the future.”
Since Wiewandt’s escape, the Weber County Sheriff’s Office has been working with the U.S. Marshal’s Service in order to track the fugitive down. The Marshal’s Service specializes in fugitive apprehension, among other tasks.
Weber County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Joshua Marigoni told the Standard-Examiner on Thursday afternoon there was no new information the department could release, but he said that efforts to find Wiewandt were ongoing.
A search of Wiewandt’s court records show he was charged in Utah’s federal court in August when he allegedly escaped from a residential re-entry facility in Salt Lake City. He was charged with one count of escaping custody, a felony. The facility he fled is reportedly owned by the GEO Group, a company that specializes in private, for-profit prisons.
Wiewandt was in the Salt Lake City facility in the first place because he was convicted in an Arizona federal court of engaging in a conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud.
An arrest warrant for Wiewandt was returned as executed on Nov. 18, according to federal court documents. He was arrested in California near Los Angeles, according to the records. Weber County Jail booking reports show he was booked into the jail on Dec. 23.
Belnap’s initial appearance in court is scheduled for March 10 in Ogden’s 2nd District Court.