'There is no excuse for it': Inmate walks out of Ohio county jail, escapes in waiting car

It was the first escape from the facility in 24 years

The Columbus Dispatch
COLUMBUS, Ohio — For the first time in 24 years, an inmate escaped from the Franklin County jail.

Sheriff Dallas Baldwin says "there is no excuse for it." An internal investigation is underway into how it happened, he said.

“Our detective bureau’s reviewing it, along with the corrections chain of command, and they’ll find out why," Baldwin said. "Of course, everything in that building is under camera and video, so we’re able to view that and find out exactly what happened and policies will ensure it doesn’t happen again."

"We’re not sure if it was a failure of policy or a failure of an employee,” he added.

In the meantime, here is what we know:

The escaped inmate, 20-year-old Jacob Benajmin Loper, had been held at the Jackson Pike lockup on several felony drug charges since Monday.

On Wednesday, he was to be picked up by the U.S. Marshal's office and taken to West Virginia. Because of construction work in the jail's normal release area, Loper was in a general booking area with other inmates who were awaiting release because they completed their sentences or had posted bond and were being released pending trial.

Loper had changed from his jail uniform into street clothes in anticipation of being released into federal custody, which is normal procedure in a custody transfer. But when a group of other inmates was being released as scheduled around 9 a.m., Loper apparently blended in with them and walked out of the jail.

Loper got into a waiting vehicle, which dropped him off at Broad Street and Burgess Avenue in Columbus' Hilltop neighborhood. Authorities located the vehicle and the female driver, who told them where she dropped him off, but it has not been revealed whether she knew Loper, she was an Uber or Lyft driver who was waitingn for Loper or someone else, or whether she even knew he was an escaped inmate.

Loper was taken into custody around 4 a.m. Thursday. Additional details about his capture were not immediately available.

©2021 www.dispatch.com.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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