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Bank robber tries to chisel way out of jail

September 08, 1999|By BRYN MICKLE

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A man who was awaiting sentencing on federal bank robbery charges was caught Tuesday night trying to escape from the Eastern Regional Jail in Martinsburg, police said.

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Charles Franklin Adams III, 31, of Stephen City, Va., faces escape charges after guards told police they found him trying to chisel out of his cell with a metal piece of a chair leg, Berkeley County Sheriff's Department Capt. C.E. Keller said.

Corrections officers patrolling the outside of the jail became suspicious just before 10 p.m. Tuesday after they heard chiseling sounds coming from one of the cell blocks, Keller said.

Guards told police they entered Adams' cell and found him trying to chisel out the support beams from his cell window, Keller said.

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The wall had been hammered halfway through when the escape attempt was discovered, Eastern Regional Jail Lt. Ben Shreve said.

"It was a serious attempt, but he didn't get very far," Shreve said.

Adams' cellmate was in another part of the cell block watching television when the attempt was spotted, Keller said.

The escape attempt was stopped in a matter of minutes and there was no real danger of anyone getting out of the jail, Keller said.

The Sheriff's Department was notified of the escape attempt Wednesday and was conducting an investigation, Keller said.

Adams was moved to a higher security area of the jail and has been separated from the other inmates, Shreve said.

Inmates at the jail are scheduled to move into a new, larger jail next door sometime this month but Keller said the age of the current jail was not a factor in the escape attempt.

Shreve refused comment on any past escape attempts at the jail.

The Sheriff's Department will consult with federal authorities this week to determine if Adams will be charged with state or federal charges for attempted escape, Keller said.

Adams has been in the Eastern Regional Jail since March 22 when he was arrested at a Martinsburg motel on charges he robbed an Inwood, W.Va., bank.

Adams pleaded guilty Aug. 24 to robbing the Blue Ridge Bank in Inwood on March 22 and the Hagerstown Trust branch at West Side Avenue in Hagerstown on March 15.

Under a plea agreement with U.S. Attorney's Offices in Maryland and West Virginia, Adams agreed to pay $39,086 in restitution and faces a maximum of 20 years in prison and $250,000 fines on each bank robbery charge.

Adams was scheduled to be sentenced on the bank robbery charges Nov. 15 in U.S. District Court in Martinsburg.

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