Ostrich ‘head-in-the-sand’ strategy fails miserably for fugitive in West Valley City bust

Members of the Violent Fugitive Apprehension Team take a federal parolee into custody just days after his escape from a local half-way house. Photo: Gephardt Daily/Monico Garza/SLCScanner

WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah, Sept. 20, 2018 (Gephardt Daily) — A federal fugitive is back behind bars, learning the hard way that the age old “hide-your-head-in-the-sand” defense is still a loser.

According to Deputy U.S. Marshal Derryl Spencer, supervisor of the Violent Felon Apprehension Team (aka VFAST), federal parolee Paul Tauese Ama, 41, alias C-Nutt, gained the distinction of becoming a federal fugitive a couple of days ago when he made the decision to cut off his ankle monitor and escaped from a local halfway house.

Ama made another questionable decision early Thursday morning when he thought he could give police the slip by standing perfectly still in the backyard of a West Valley City home even though officers a short distance away stared directly at him.

Spencer said VFAST received a tip out of St. George that Ama, who also goes by the name X Fatso, was in the Salt Lake area.

At 2:45 a.m., he was seen in a stolen truck cruising through West Valley City with a female fugitive who was also on VFAST’s radar.

Strike force officers followed the fugitives to a neighborhood near 4300 West 3100 South where police say they abandoned the truck then walked off in different directions.

“He was standing behind a fence — kinda like an ostrich with his head in the sand — thinking maybe if he didn’t move we wouldn’t see him,” Spencer said, chuckling. “We could see him standing there!”

Police ended the game of peekaboo by ordering Ama to surrender, while members of a nearby K-9 unit yapped enthusiastically.

It was then, Ama made the best decision in days, complying with officers’ commands before police dogs could close in.

The female fugitive police were tracking was found nearby. Spencer said she waved officers down in an apparent attempt to draw them away from Ama. She was detained and questioned before being released. Possible charges are pending.

Ama was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail and charged with violating the Federal Detainees Interstate Agreement, a third degree felony.

Spencer said it was a successful week for VFAST with eleven fugitives being captured in Utah in just the last few days.


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