Mystery prisoner has Utah jail authorities stumped

PROVO, Utah Sat Jul 23, 2011 3:54pm EDT

Related Topics

PROVO, Utah (Reuters) - A mystery man arrested on minor charges more than three weeks ago remains behind bars in Utah while law enforcement officials try to determine his true identity, which he refuses to reveal.

"This is really a strange case," said Lt. Dennis Harris with the Utah County Sheriff's Office. "He just doesn't want to be found."

The unidentified man, who has graying hair, a light beard and is believed to be in his 60's, was arrested on July 1 for trespassing in a parking garage.

He was booked into jail on three misdemeanor charges and has thwarted any chance of release, with or without bail, by refusing to identify himself.

"I've been trying to think from A to Z why he would want to stay here ... why he wouldn't give us any information," Harris said.

"He either has to be wanted by some other state or he could be on some other registry or database that has not shown up," he added.

Law enforcement officials say the man is "fairly well spoken and educated," but very guarded about his identity.

As a result of several short conversations with him, officers believe he may not be from Utah.

Officials gave the man a telephone calling card so he might contact friends or relatives, but he has not used it.

"He was very aware of what we were trying to do and he would not give us the slightest bit of information indicating where he was from or anything relating to his family situation," said Harris.

"We've had a lot of people call in but nothing has panned out. Nothing," he added.

Officials say in three weeks of jail the mystery man has shown a pleasant demeanor and has communicated that he is being treated well.

"He said the food has been great," Harris said.

"I realize that sometimes people want to go to jail because they are homeless, have nothing, they are destitute. I've seen that over the years. I just don't get the impression that's the reason. He just doesn't want to be discovered by somebody."

Now in his fourth week of incarceration, the man added another twist to the story recently by hinting he had business of some kind outside prison that he would need to attend to.

"He said there was a point at some time that he would need to get out of jail," Harris said. "That's the closest I can find of what he wants to do. And that makes no sense to me whatsoever."

(Editing by James B. Kelleher and Tim Gaynor)

FILED UNDER: