WARREN COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) -
"It's an event that obviously is embarrassing, and we'll own it, and we'll take full responsibility for it," said Warren County Sheriff Rusty Hart.
In the Warren County Jail's 21 year history, Hart said an inmate has never escaped. That all changed Saturday morning when 27-year-old Gary Conner was allowed out into the recreation yard.
"After a short time of him being out there, it was discovered that he had found a way out, and was outside the secure perimeter of the jail," said Hart.
Hart said the escape wasn't due to a lack of security or personnel. Instead, he said it all came down to the structure of the building.
"There was a small area that the builders and the designers and the jail staff and myself included, had overlooked as being a weakness in our security, and he exploited that weakness," said Hart.
Hart said that small area is only about 14 inches wide, and isn't easy to get to. He said Conner had to climb onto a hand railing, and jump up about 8 feet to a fence.
From there, he climbed the fence and used the ledge of a wall to push the fence out, and escaped.
"We'll hire a contractor to come and fix that and in that process, we'll also do a complete review of all of our policies and procedures and security," said Hart.
The car Conner stole following his escape was found at The Bluffs apartment complex in Lafayette on Sunday evening. However, the search for Conner continues.
Hart said he wants residents to know that Warren County is, and always will be, a safe community.
"I can assure the residents of Warren County that our jail is safe, and they don't need to worry about inmates escaping from the jail," said Hart. "It's never happened before, and we're going to do our very best to make sure it doesn't happen again."
Hart said Conner was originally serving time for burglary and theft. He said once caught, Conner could face additional charges, including escape, a Class C Felony.
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