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Escapee faces new burglary charges

January 29, 2009|By ERIN JULIUS

WASHINGTON COUNTY -- A convicted murderer who scaled two fences to escape from a local prison Jan. 17 has been charged in a burglary that occurred the weekend he escaped.

Kandelario Garcia-Ramos, 23, who escaped from Maryland Correctional Institution-Hagerstown, was captured five days later when a clerk at Sheetz at U.S. 40 and Md. 66, east of Hagerstown, called 911 to report a suspicious man loitering in the store.

Police have alleged Garcia-Ramos broke into a Boonsboro home during his time outside the prison.

John and Sharon Shank returned to their Mill Point Road home, about 3 miles from the prison, on Monday, Jan. 19, after a weekend in Florida.

Items were missing from their home, Sharon Shank said in a telephone interview Thursday. Milk had been taken from the refrigerator, as well as a bag of tangerines. All of her jewelry, "every last earring," was gone, Shank said.

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When Garcia-Ramos was captured, he had in his possession a Sony CyberShot camera with pictures of the Shank family as well as pictures of himself in its memory, Deputy Scott Beckley wrote in charging documents.

The day after Garcia-Ramos was captured, police retraced his path in the fields near the Sheetz, Lt. Mark Knight said Thursday.

The Shanks later identified some of the items found during that search: the camera, a John Deere pocket knife, a black Oakland Raiders T-shirt and a woman's watch.

Garcia-Ramos faces charges of first-degree burglary, fourth-degree burglary and theft of more than $500. First-degree burglary is a felony, conviction of which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.

Charging documents filed Thursday show that police believe the burglary occurred Jan. 17, the day Garcia-Ramos escaped from prison, or Jan. 18.

Garcia-Ramos was being held Thursday at the North Branch Correctional Institution, a maximum-security facility in Cumberland, Md.

Four MCI-Hagerstown correctional officers have been suspended without pay for negligence in connection with the escape.

When Sharon Shank realized every piece of jewelry she owned was gone, including items that had belonged to her grandmother, "I screamed and ran outside," she said.

The Shanks have found a cloth item that didn't belong to them in their home, and a knife-holder that didn't belong to them in their attic, Sharon Shank said. Several rooms in their home were ransacked, she said.

A camper in their barn had also been ransacked, and some things were taken from there as well, she said.

The couple has since paid a couple thousand dollars to have a security system installed in their home. They have dogs, but because the couple was away, the dogs were not staying at the property, Sharon Shank said.

While some stolen items, such as a watch, have been recovered and are in Maryland State Police custody, Sharon Shank doesn't know what happened to most of her jewelry, she said.

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