Police: Suspects jailed after kidnapping, robbery of motel guest in Cedar City

Cedar City Police vehicle. File photo: CCPD Facebook page

CEDAR CITY, Utah, Dec. 5, 2021 (Gephardt Daily) — Two suspects are facing felony charges after police say they kicked in a Cedar City motel door, and with threats to use a gun, forced the occupant to a nearby convenience store, demanding money be withdrawn from an ATM.

A third party called Cedar City police in the early hours of Sunday morning to report a man with a gun at the Maverik.

“This witness saw the suspect rack the gun and later a live 9mm round was found in the Maverik parking lot,” the officer’s report says. “Another call came out of man with a gun at the Love’s (gas) station. Officers responded. The victim was left at the Love’s station by the suspects.”

The victim told officers the suspects, at least one of whom was known to him, had shown up at the hotel where he was staying.

“The suspects kicked in the door at the hotel pointed a gun at the victim and took him to the Maverik to force him to get money out of the ATM,” the officer’s statement says. “The suspects also stole the victim’s phone. It was reported to be an LG smartphone. The victim reported to know one of the suspects as Stewart and the other suspect was staying with him.”

The staff at Love’s Travel Station provided surveillance images of the suspects inside Love’s with the victim, the statement says. Through their investigation, police were able to identify a location where the suspects, Avery J. Oyale Holyelkface and and Stewart Lanza, might be staying.

Officers went to the address, in the area of 300 E. 600 North, and located the suspects. Both were wearing clothing that matched the description given to police.

Post Miranda, Lewis reportedly told officer “he owned the gun and told officers where it was located inside… the couch,” say probable cause statements for both men. “Avery admitted that he went to confront the victim about money that was owed to Avery’s friend and Avery drove the victim to Maverik and the Love’s station to get the money. Officers got consent to search inside the house from Stewart for the gun.

“While searching the couch where Avery said the gun was located, officers found an LG brand cellphone that the victim said the suspects had stolen from him earlier. A magazine with live ammunition was found where Avery said. The pistol was located inside a refrigerator after Avery told officers it could possibly be in there.”

Holyelkface, 35, and Lanza, 53, face identical charges of:

  • Aggravated robbery, use or threatened use of a weapon, a first-degree felony
  • Kidnapping, a second-degree felony
  • Burglary of a dwelling, a second-degree felony
  • Aggravated assault, a third-degree felony
  • Theft, a class B misdemeanor

Both suspects were booked into the Iron County Jail, where they are being held without bail due to the seriousness of the charges and the men’s perceived flight risk.

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