The Cleveland FBI office is stepping up efforts in its search for the former Taupa Lithuanian Credit Union CEO Alex Spirikaitis, releasing a new photo of him without his goatee.
Spirikaitis, who has been on the run for a week, is wanted by the FBI on charges of embezzlement in the failure of the $23.6 million Cleveland credit union.
After the photo was distributed to the local news media last week, FBI Special Agent Vicki Anderson said new leads have been called in and agents are following up on them.
“Without his goatee, he looks amazingly different,” Anderson said, adding that the FBI is confident Spirikaitis will be captured with the public’s help. The federal law enforcement agency released Spirikaitis’ driver’s license photo last week, which shows him with a goatee.
Spirikaitis’ FBI wanted poster notes that he “should be considered armed and dangerous (and) may have suicidal tendencies.”
The FBI also reported the former CEO executive may flee to Canada and was last seen in Cleveland as well as the suburbs of Solon and Twinsburg, about 20 to 25 miles southeast of Cleveland.
The former credit union CEO also may go by the aliases “Michael R. Hess, Rudy Hess or Richard Spirikaitis,” according to law enforcement authorities.
The FBI search for Spirikaitis began on the evening of July 16 when local police thought they were in a standoff after arriving at his Solon home to arrest him at around 8 p.m. However, when authorities entered the home the next morning, he was not there.
Anderson said when police approached the home that evening, Spirikaitis’ relatives gave every indication he was inside.
“Family members left the house with us and we thought, from the information we gathered, that he was not going to willingly come out,” she said.
For safety’s sake for the residential neighborhood, Anderson said authorities waited until daybreak for tactical teams to move in. Additionally, Anderson said, the said the size of the large home played a part in the decision to wait until daylight before entering.
The official charge the FBI has brought against Spirikaitis, making false credit institution entries, is an unusual one. Anderson said the charge falls under the embezzlement category, and because it is one that could be quickly proven, FBI officials utilized the charge so authorities could quickly execute an arrest warrant.