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FBI says tips coming in on polygamist leader Lyle Jeffs

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Posted at 12:02 PM, Jul 14, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-14 16:14:47-04

SALT LAKE CITY — The FBI said it has been receiving tips about polygamist leader Lyle Jeffs in the days since a FOX 13 story about his escape.

Speaking at a roundtable meeting with reporters on Thursday, Special Agent-in-Charge Eric Barnhart of the FBI’s Salt Lake City field office, expressed confidence that Jeffs would be captured.

FBI Special Agent-in-Charge Eric Barnhart speaks at a roundtable with reporters on July 14 at the FBI's Salt Lake City Field Office. (Image by Doug Eldredge, FOX 13 News)

FBI Special Agent-in-Charge Eric Barnhart speaks at a roundtable with reporters on July 14 at the FBI’s Salt Lake City Field Office. (Image by Doug Eldredge, FOX 13 News)

“We have a job to do now, and that’s to take Mr. Jeffs into custody,” he said. “As I said to Ben (Winslow) last week, it’s  big world but it’s actually gotten smaller over the years. We have broad reach. We are, obviously, aware Mr. Jeffs has a support network both in Utah, the United States, Canada and Mexico, other places overseas — we have 90 plus offices overseas.”

Barnhart told FOX 13 in an interview broadcast Monday that Fundamentalist LDS Church leader Lyle Jeffs likely used olive oil to slip out of a GPS monitoring device attached to his ankle. Jeffs was released from jail after his trial on food stamp fraud and money laundering charges was delayed.

Barnhart said Thursday that the FBI believes Jeffs had help escaping. Agents are looking for a dark colored, late-model Ford Mustang that pulled into the Salt Lake City home he was staying at and drove away a short time later. Barnhart would not say if people at the home where Jeffs was staying are under investigation.

FINAL Wanted Lyle Jeffs

Barnhart said he anticipated security around GPS monitoring devices would be reviewed.

“Mr. Jeffs is not behind bars right now, but that does not mean he is enjoying the same freedoms we all are. He has to be concerned that one mistake on his part, is it that stranger he meets, tomorrow, next week, next year that reports him,” he said.

Anyone with information on Jeffs’ whereabouts is asked to call the FBI at 801-579-1400.