COs find 350-foot rope in inmate's bed

Sheets, jumpsuits, rags used in apparent escape apparatus

By Karen Gillespie
The Spokesman Review

SPOKANE COUNTY — After almost two years in Spokane County Jail, career criminal Frank Uhyrek might be going stir-crazy.

At least the 350-foot rope that guards found hidden in his torn mattress last month points to that. Jail staff say Uhyrek was collecting bits of sheets, jumpsuits and rags and tying them together to form the rope, presumably to crawl through his window to freedom about 12 stories below.

Uhyrek has been behind bars since November 2011, when he was arrested for robbing a west Spokane Safeway, according to court documents.

“We don’t know how long he’s been working on it,” said Lt. Mike Sparber, custody operations attendant. “He could have been working on it from the day that he got here.”

During a routine random check of cells on Aug. 22, guards noticed something suspicious about 37-year-old Uhyrek’s bed, Sparber said. According to their report, the guards found a makeshift rope in the cell. Uhyrek has previously received warnings for tying “fishing lines,” ropes used by prisoners to acquire contraband from people outside or from other prisoners.

After more investigation, however, guards determined this rope was far too long to be used for anything other than an escape attempt. The primary investigator estimated it was about 350 feet long.

“We’ve found ropes before,” Sparber said. “But no one’s actually broken a window out or tried it.”

Full story: Guards find 350-foot rope in jail inmate’s bed

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