Indicted sect members can hide with ease

Houston Chronicle/July 25, 2008

San Angelo, Texas - Texas authorities will have their work cut out for them as they try to track members of a wealthy polygamist sect who are well-equipped to hide within a national network of safe houses, one expert said.

On Tuesday, a Texas grand jury issued indictments against members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

"It's so hard. It's not like a regular bank robber takes off in a 1986 Toyota Camry and you can go check with his wife or girlfriend," said Sam Brower, a Utah private investigator, who has spent the past five years working for attorneys suing the church and assisting law enforcement.

Six men, including jailed church president and prophet Warren Jeffs, were indicted. Only Jeffs is in custody.

Brower points to Jeffs' own run from justice. In 2005, Jeffs was placed on the FBI's 10 Most Wanted list. Efforts to find him failed for a year until an obscured temporary license plate on a newly purchased Cadillac Escalade caught the eye of a Nevada highway patrolman.

"They have unlimited resources, places to hide, they trade vehicles and can be hidden by friends and family," Brower said.

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