Man linked to missing barista arraigned

Anchorage Daily NewsMarch 27, 2012 

Israel Keyes was arraigned on a charge of access device fraud this afternoon in federal court in Anchorage.

Keyes is a 34-year-old self-employed carpenter who police say is connected to the apparent abduction of 18-year-old coffee barista Samantha Koenig.

Detectives have not said yet how his arrest in Texas on March 13 is connected to the Koenig case.

About 20 people filled the small Anchorage courtroom today, including a sketch artist, journalists and two detectives leading the team that is still trying to find Koenig.

Keyes pleaded not guilty to the fraud charge and told a judge he was broke. According to an FBI agent’s affidavit, Keyes took money from another man’s bank account using a stolen bank card. He was caught in Lufkin, Tex., with the card and rolls of cash.

Judge John Roberts appointed Keyes a public defender after reviewing Keyes’ financial statement and asking some questions.

Keyes told the judge his bank account was empty. When the judge asked if Keyes had any cash, he said he didn’t know.

“I’m not aware of how much cash I have at this time, your honor,” Keyes said. “I would say my account is probably overdrawn at this point.”

The judge indicated that Keyes’ financial affidavit listed many debts. Keyes said he thought he was probably behind on payments for some of the debts, and that if he liquidated all of his assets -- including work tools, a trailer and some unimproved land he owns -- he would still be in debt.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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