2 men arrested after allegedly forcing man at gunpoint to take money from ATMs in Cedar City

Stock image | Photo by Barbol88/iStock/Getty Images Plus, St. George News / Cedar City News

CEDAR CITY — Two men were arrested early Sunday morning after they allegedly attempted to force another person to withdraw money from ATMs at two different convenience stores.

Iron County Jail, Cedar City, Utah, Nov. 24, 2021 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

According to probable cause statements filed in support of the men’s arrests, the incident started when a witness reported seeing a man with black spiky hair and wearing a gray jacket rack a gun in the parking lot of a Maverik convenience store. A live 9mm round was reportedly later found on the ground. 

A short time later, at the Love’s Travel Stop located just off Interstate 15 Exit 62 at the north end of town, the men were spotted in the company of a third person and in the act of an alleged attempt to get that person to withdraw money from the store’s ATM.

After witnesses called 911, Cedar City Police officers responded to the Love’s where they spoke with a man who said he had been left at the store by the suspects, later identified as Avery J. Oyale Holyelkface, 35, and Stewart Lanza, 53.

The police report states that the man said Holyelkface and Lanza had come to the hotel where he was staying and demanded money.

“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 probable cause statements said. “The suspects then took the victim to the Love’s station, again in attempt to get money out of the ATM.”

The suspects also reportedly took the man’s phone away from him.

After further investigation, officers responded to a residence in Cedar City near the corner of 350 East and 575 North where the two men were found.

Iron County Jail, Cedar City, Utah, Nov. 24, 2021 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

Holyelkface and Lanza were questioned by police and subsequently arrested on multiple charges. Police also recovered two handguns from inside the residence, in addition to the phone that had been reported stolen.

Holyelkface and Lanza are being held in Iron County Jail without bail. Each faces the same five charges: aggravated robbery, a first-degree felony; kidnapping and burglary of a dwelling, both second-degree felonies; aggravated assault, a third-degree felony; and theft, a class B misdemeanor.

Utah court records indicate that both men have criminal histories, including previous drug convictions.

Ed. Note: A new Utah law generally prohibits the release of arrest booking photos until after a conviction is obtained. 

This report is based on statements from court documents and law enforcement officials and may not contain the full scope of findings. Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

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