Man in custody after attempted robbery, carjackings in Tooele

Cristian Josue Ciliezar. Photo: Tooele County

TOOELE, Utah, Dec. 23, 2020 (Gephardt Daily) — A man was booked into the Tooele County Jail on Monday after officials say he tried, unsuccessfully, to rob a gas station/convenience store, he assaulted four people, and he attempted but failed to force two customers to drive him away from the scene.

A Utah Highway Patrol Trooper arrested suspect Cristian Josue Ciliezar, 35, at the scene. He faces charges of:

  • Aggravated robbery, a first-degree felony
  • Aggravated kidnapping, a first-degree felony
  • Five counts of aggravated assault, a third-degree felony
  • Three counts of assault, a class B misdemeanor
  • Failure to disclose identity, a class B misdemeanor
  • Disorderly conduct, an infraction

The trooper was called to the scene of an unknown incident on Monday at about 1:29 p.m.

“Tooele County Dispatch had received a 911 call,” the probable cause statement says. “They could not determine what the emergency was but dispatch stated that there was yelling in the background. I responded code to the metro thinking that there was a possible robbery. Dispatch later advised that there was a fight going on.”

The trooper arrived to find one man, Ciliezar, with a cut over his eye, backing away from four other men.

“I told him to wait by my patrol car and I went to talk to the group of males,” the trooper’s account says. “They stated that the Hispanic male assaulted them. I went to the male and handcuffed him and placed him into the back of my patrol vehicle.”

During his investigation, the trooper interviewed the four individuals involved. One of the males was a customer, and three worked at the gas station.

Due to a language barrier, an interpreter was summoned and helped the trooper go through a surveillance video.

“From the recorded videos of the camera system of the store, I saw that Hispanic male enter the store restaurant and started a confrontation with a customer. As I watched the video, I asked the involved males what the male was saying. They stated that he was demanding money from the customer. The video continues with the Hispanic following an employee into the kitchen. The male can be see hiding his hand behind his back as if he was hiding a weapon there.”

An employee said the suspect “grabbed a knife that was in the kitchen and threatened him,” but that was not in view of the camera footage.

The suspect then moved over by the cashiers, the video showed, and kept one hand behind his back.

The employees said the suspect “was threatening them and that the male told them to get on the ground or he will shoot them. They stated that he was demanding money.”

The victims said the suspect punched two of the employees in the face, then noticed the third person, but decided to leave after failing to get the cash, the statement says.

Ciliezar then walked over to a car parked at a gas pump and tried to get in, the probable cause statement says.

“The female locked the doors and so he wasn’t able to get inside the vehicle.”

The suspect then walked over to a white sedan and got into the front passenger side, the report says.

“There was a customer inside that vehicle in the driver’s seat,” the trooper’s statement says. “That customer stated that the male had told him to drive and to ‘get down and I’ll let you live.’ He stated that the male had his hand behind his back and he thought that he had some type of weapon there or was pretending that there was one there.

“The customer left the vehicle and took the keys with him. He said the car was on when the male got into the front passenger seat. The male tried to pull back the male for the keys, but the customer ran away.”

After Ciliezar was taken into custody, the trooper searched him.

“I did not find any weapons on his person. He was just acting like he did have a weapon the whole time.”

Ciliezar refused to give his name, the trooper’s statement says. Once in the patrol car, Ciliezar kicked at the windows and banged his head on them, “making the inside of my car covered in blood.”

Ciliezar is being held without bail.


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