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Inmate escapes from Ind. prison


April 03, 2001
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Inmate escapes from Ind. prison

By Stan Maddux; Tribune Correspondent
March 29, 2001 Thursday Marshall Edition
Copyright 2001 South Bend Tribune Corporation
South Bend Tribune
March 29, 2001 Thursday Marshall Edition

(WESTVILLE, Ind.) -  A Westville Correctional Facility inmate escaped Wednesday by driving off the prison grounds and was last seen headed west toward Porter County on U.S. 6.

Fred Bishop, 27, was working kitchen duty when he made his way over to an unmarked prison van that was being loaded with supplies and climbed behind the wheel, according to prison officials.

Officials were alerted to the escape after Bishop was seen driving away in the vehicle described as a white boxed panel van with a state license plate, prison officials said.

Whether the engine was running when Bishop got inside or he had to start it remains under investigation, said prison spokesperson Sharon Hawk.

Hawk said area police agencies were immediately called in hopes of capturing Bishop, whose last known address was in Indianapolis.

Police from Westville also responded to the prison but upon arrival ''he was long gone,'' said Town Marshal Jim Gunning.

About 6 p.m., Michigan police reported the vehicle had been found near St. Joseph and were investigating the possibility that Bishop may be headed to Ludington, Mich.

They also looked into reports he may have been going to Crown Point or Lake Station.

Bishop was sentenced out of Shelby and Johnson counties on two counts of burglary, resisting law enforcement and receiving stolen property and had been at Westville since May 5, 2000.

His projected release date was Jan. 22, 2008.

When asked how serious a threat Bishop could pose to society, Hawk said ''we are a low- to medium-security facility, so at this time we are not considering him armed and dangerous.'

''However, he is a convicted felon. so everyone is to take all precautions,'' she said.

Bishop was described by police as white, 5 feet 10 inches and 153 pounds with brown hair, brown eyes and a ''freshly shaven head.''

Paul Brubaker, who resides about a mile across a field from the prison, is not as nervous about escapes nowadays.

That's because Brubaker about 20 years ago helped form Westville Community Citizens Watch.

WCCW consists of residents near the prison who persuaded prison officials to inform them immediately of escapes so they can lock their doors and take other precautions.

Prior to the formation of WCCW, Brubaker said, one neighbor unaware of an escape had an offender staying in his home a few days while away at work.

Another time, Brubaker said, ''I saw a guy run across my front yard and he tried to get into my sister's house.''

He later found out the man was an escapee.

Brubaker feels safer now that residents near the prison are alerted immediately about escapes which he said have occurred a lot less frequently the past several years.

Full story: Inmate escapes from Ind. prison





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