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Police arrest man for allegedly holding, robbing missionaries at gunpoint in West Jordan

Posted at 6:31 AM, Jan 12, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-12 22:32:49-05

WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah -- A man was arrested in West Jordan Friday night after he robbed four missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at gunpoint, traveling to a gas station with the victims and taking $20 in cash, police said.

According to a probable cause statement released in 3rd District Court in Salt Lake County, Michael Jon Willie, 25, approached four LDS Church missionaries who were going door-to-door at the Woodgate Apartment complex around 9:30 Friday night in West Jordan.

Willie started a conversation with the missionaries, then produced a firearm from his pants waistband, and pointed it at them, the statement said. Willie also allegedly brandished a knife at the victims during the incident.

"The suspect [Willie] then proceeded to ask the four male missionaries for money," the statement said. "The four male missionaries in fear of their personal safety continued to talk to the suspect and even offered to give him money but needed to cash out of an ATM."

The victims persuaded Willie to accompany them to a nearby gas station, where they told him they would get him cash, investigators said. They then proceeded to walk to a nearby Exxon gas station, followed by Willie.

"The missionaries were clearly identified as missionaries and they were talking to this gentlemen thinking that maybe he might be interested in their message,” said Sgt. Dan Roberts with the West Jordan Police Department.

"His persistent requests for money turned into threats and the missionaries were quite afraid they were going to be seriously hurt or killed, so that’s why they agreed to walk with him over to the gas station, hoping they could get some money or something to get him away from them," Roberts continued.

While at the gas station, one of the victims gave Willie $20 and some food, police said. The four victims then left the area of the gas station while Willie allegedly remained inside.

While walking to the gas station, one of the victims was able to text a church member and notify them of what was happening, Sgt. Dan Roberts with the West Jordan Police Department told Fox 13. The church member was then able to call police.

When officers with the West Jordan Police Department arrived at the gas station, Willie was still there. Officers said he appeared to be intoxicated, and was taken under arrest.

"[Officers] also found a firearm (9mm handgun Springfield XD with a fully loaded magazine inside the firearm) on the suspects waistband area during a terry frisk," the statement said. "The hand gun was concealed on the suspects waist band area."

Officers also stated that they located the $20 one of the missionaries had given Willie on his person while he was being searched.

Willie was arrested and booked into the Salt Lake County Jail for four counts of aggravated robbery, all first-degree felonies, four counts of kidnapping, all first-degree felonies, one count of carrying a concealed firearm, a class-A misdemeanor, one count of carrying a dangerous weapon under the influence, a class-B misdemeanor, one count of threat/use of a dangerous weapon, a class-A misdemeanor and one count of intoxication, a class-C misdemeanor.