Prosecutors file bank-robbery charges
Summit County prosecutors, saying that the authorities have cracked an unsolved 2004 bank robbery, charged three people in connection with a heist at Key Bank in Park City, including a woman and her son.
The charges were filed six days after the Park City Police Department arrested one of the suspects and then, the police say, untangled the case, now almost two years old.
( Jesse Dane Kavalauskas, 20, who lists an address in Wanship. He faces a second-degree felony charge of robbery.
( Jody Kavalauskas, 44, whose address is listed in Wanship. The prosecutors charged her with a count of obstruction of justice, a third-degree felony.
( Jacob Walter Bailey, 20, whose address is listed in Riverton, Wyo. He was charged with a second-degree felony charge of robbery.
A conviction on a second-degree felony carries a prison term of between 1 and 15 years and a $10,000 fine and a third-degree felony conviction carries a prison term of between zero and five years and a $5,000 fine.
Jody Kavalauskas is the mother of Jesse Kavalauskas, and Bailey and the younger Kavalauskas grew up together in Riverton, the police said.
"I’m fairly confident we’ve arrested the people responsible for the bank robbery," said Mary Ford, a Park City detective who signed court papers against the three.
Jesse Kavalauskas was brought to the Summit County Jail on May 25 and was released on $20,000 bond on May 30, according to the jail. Jody Kavalauskas was released from the jail on a $5,000 bond on May 31 after being incarcerated on May 28, the jail said. A sergeant at the Fremont County, Wyo., jail said Bailey was incarcerated on June 1 and officials in Fremont County expect him to be extradited to Utah shortly.
In court filings, Gus Chin, the Summit County attorney who is prosecuting the cases, alleges that Jesse Kavalauskas and Bailey held up the bank and then Jody Kavalauskas failed to tell the police that the two had robbed the bank when officers approached her.
Bank robberies are rare in Park City and the police investigation into the Oct. 9, 2004 holdup stalled after officers were unable to quickly catch the two.
The suspects took about $2,600, Chin said. Ford said in an interview that the police were investigating an unrelated case when a person provided a tip during the last week of May. She did not elaborate, however. Ford said the police initially were aware that two men were involved in the holdup but did not realize a third person was working with them.
In the court filings, Chin claims that Jesse Kavalauskas and Bailey, wearing disguises, entered the bank, 1555 Snow Creek Drive, at about 11:20 a.m. Jesse Kavalauskas wore a white shirt, red and white baseball cap, sunglasses, white gloves and a long black wig and Bailey wore a long-sleeved gray shirt, white gloves, a black stocking cap and sunglasses, Chin claims.
Jesse Kavalauskas told the authorities after his arrest that they had a gun with them, Chin alleges. They went to a teller, Jesse Kavalauskas gave the teller a plastic grocery bag, they demanded and got money, Chin alleges. They then went to the next teller station but were unsuccessful there after the teller said he did not have the keys, Chin charges.
They then fled out the front doors, according to Chin’s filings.
The authorities conducted a manhunt but did not capture the suspects. The two escaped to a home on Snow’s Lane, where the prosecutors say Jody Kavalauskas was house sitting.
Ford acknowledged that the police questioned Jody Kavalauskas quickly after the holdup while the authorities were searching the Thaynes Canyon neighborhood.
She said the police recovered evidence in a Dumpster in the neighborhood but did not provide details. After finding the evidence, she said, they canvassed the neighborhood and spoke to the mother.
"She said she didn’t see anything suspicious," Ford said.
In his filing against Jody Kavalauskas, Chin alleges that the mother had been questioned by two officers at different times the day of the holdup. After speaking to the officers, she talked to her son, who told her about the holdup and gave her some money, Chin alleges in the filing. He claims that the two suspects were in the house during the questioning.
Chin claims that the two drove to Denver afterward. Bailey then moved to Wyoming and Jesse Kavalauskas returned to Utah a few months afterward, Chin says in the filing.
Chin is confident in his case and says, since charges were recently filed, he is unsure if the three will stand trial or if prosecutors and defense attorneys will reach a plea bargain.
"I consider it strong enough to file," he said.
David Shapiro, a public defender appointed to Jesse Kavalauskas, said he recently was assigned to the case and declined to comment.
Ed Stone, an attorney representing Jody Kavalauskas, said he is unsure how much information his client had about the holdup and when she was told. She claims that she did not receive the money Chin identifies in his court filing, he said.
He said it is a "fine line" between the relationship of a mother and a son and the obstruction of justice charge she faces.
"I have a hard time believing the County Attorney’s Office will want to actively prosecute a mother who may have had some information . . . after the fact," Stone said.
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