Reward Paid to Tipsters for Arrest of Lyle Jeffs

The FBI Salt Lake City Division has paid out a $50,000 reward to two individuals who provided valuable information that led to the arrest of Lyle Jeffs, ending a nearly year-long search for the fugitive. The money was divided proportionally between the recipients, based on their level of assistance. We are not naming them to protect their privacy.

Jeffs, believed to be a leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS), was on pre-trial release awaiting trial on food stamp fraud charges, when he fled from home confinement in Salt Lake City, on or about June 18, 2016.

In early June, 2017, two men spotted Jeffs pawning tools at a Yankton, South Dakota business. On June 13, 2017, one of them spotted Jeffs a second time and became suspicious, partly because Jeffs was wearing layers of clothing, a hat and sunglasses, indoors. The tipster thought to note the partial license plate of the vehicle Jeffs was driving. That solid information provided to law enforcement triggered an extensive search in the area.

The next day, Yankton Police Lt. Todd Brandt, while off-duty, spotted the vehicle, a silver, late model Ford F-150, at the Lewis and Clark Marina in Yankton. Officers subsequently conducted a traffic stop and the driver admitted to being Lyle Jeffs.

The FBI has always relied on cooperation from the public to help capture fugitives and solve crimes. Tips, as evident in this case, can be invaluable to our investigations.

“This case highlights the importance of reporting anything suspicious, no matter how insignificant it may seem,” said FBI Salt Lake City Assistant Special Agent in Charge Dan Brady. “In this case, the tipsters were observant and acted on instinct. There is no doubt their involvement led to Jeffs’ quick arrest.”

FBI Minneapolis Special Agent in Charge Richard T. Thornton thanked the public for its assistance in locating Mr. Jeffs. He explained, “The FBI’s primary mission is to keep the public safe, and in so many cases, it’s the actions of a vigilant citizen that help us to do that.” With regard to the reward, Mr. Thornton added, “In cases like this, we’re happy to reward the people who take extra steps to help law enforcement make their communities safe.” Mr. Thornton also expressed his thanks to the Federal, State and local partners who assisted in bringing Mr. Jeffs to justice.

We cannot stress enough the significance of the partnerships we have with other federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. We would like to thank the agencies who assisted in this case: the Yankton Police Department, the FBI Minneapolis Division, IRS Criminal Investigation, Las Vegas Field Office, Washington County Sheriff’s Office, Yankton County Sheriff’s Office, South Dakota Highway Patrol, South Dakota Department of Public Safety and Division of Criminal Investigation Fusion Center.

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