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Man shaved head, posed as fellow inmate to escape Weber jail, police say

Kaleb Wiewandt, left, pictured in a booking photo along with Matthew Belnap, right, in a separate booking photo released late Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020 by the Weber County Sheriff’s office. Wiewand escaped from the jail after posing as Belnap.
Kaleb Wiewandt, left, is pictured in a booking photo along with Matthew Belnap, right, in a separate booking photo released late Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020, by the Weber County Sheriff’s Office. Police say Wiewandt escaped from the jail after posing as Belnap.
Weber County Jail

OGDEN — An inmate escaped from the Weber County Jail Tuesday after police say he convinced another inmate who was scheduled to be released to trade places with him.

Kaleb Wiewandt, 41, shaved his head and borrowed Matthew Belnap’s identification cards, and then posed as Belnap, who was set to be released from jail on Tuesday, according to a statement from the sheriff’s office.

Belnap could faces a potential new charge of obstructing justice.

Belnap — who is bald — helped Wiewandt shave his head on Monday “in an attempt to look similar to inmate Belnap” and then gave Wiewandt his inmate identification card, birthdate and Social Security number, according to a police affidavit.

The Weber County Sheriff’s Office said Wiewandt memorized Belnap’s personal information so he could pose as him to authorities. He walked out of the jail about 7:35 p.m. in what the sheriff’s office called a “well-orchestrated plan.”

“Jail surveillance captured the moment when inmate Belnap was called over the speaker system to get his property together. Belnap laid in his bunk and did not attempt to gather items, nor did he attempt to speak with anyone. Inmate Wiewandt is shown gathering up his belongings and immediately exiting the housing pod,” the affidavit states.

Investigators reviewed Wiewandt’s emails and said they discovered he had been making plans all day for a woman to pick him up after he was released.

“The last two emails were sent after inmate Belnap had returned from court and spoke with inmate Wiewandt confirming his release on (Tuesday),” according to the affidavit.

The sheriff’s office says Wiewandt is from Orange County in Southern California and he was believed to be headed to that area. Investigators say after being released, Wiewandt walked east on 12th Street. They are asking for any businesses that may have recorded Wiewandt on surveillance cameras to contact them.

Investigators believe the plan may have been for Belnap to also get released by later telling jail staffers that he was supposed to be released, according to the sheriff’s office.

The U.S. Marshals Office was working Wednesday with Weber County authorities to capture Wiewandt.

According to court records, Belnap has a long criminal history that includes mostly drug-related crimes. He was convicted in January of shoplifting, which was the charge he was going to be released from jail from on Tuesday.

Wiewandt was being held in Weber County on a federal indictment of escaping from custody. Wiewandt was convicted on federal charges of mail and wire fraud in Arizona and was staying at the Geo Care Residential Reentry Center in Salt Lake City when he escaped, according to court records. He was scheduled to go to trial in that case in May.