Two MCTC escapees captured in Ellicott City

September 09, 2009|By ERIN JULIUS

HAGERSTOWN -- Two inmates who walked away from a work detail at a state prison south of Hagerstown last week were captured Tuesday in a motel in Ellicott City, Md., authorities said Wednesday.

Investigators were not sure how Matthew L. Chait, 26, and Michael Allen Johnson, 24, got from Washington County to Ellicott City, about 65 miles away in Howard County, Maryland State Police Lt. David Kloos said Wednesday.

The men were painting a fence on a work detail at the Maryland Correctional Training Center prerelease building on Roxbury Road when they walked away Sept. 4, prison officials have said.

Officers found the men in Room 15 of Brown's Motel at 8074 Baltimore National Pike at about 11 p.m. Tuesday, state police said. Kloos said the men were alone in the room.


Chait and Johnson were in the custody of the Maryland Division of Correction on Wednesday.

Kloos said state police learned of the men's location from the Maryland Coordination and Analysis Center -- a federal, state and local anti-terrorism agency that collects information about suspicious activities. Police then contacted the U.S. Marshals Service's regional fugitive task force, which made the arrest, Kloos said.

Investigators said they believe the inmates had been staying at the motel since Saturday.

Jason Atkins, manager at Brown's Motel, said he believed the men checked into their room Sunday.

"They came in, turned in an ID, did what they needed to do to get a room," Atkins said. "I didn't know anything."

Rooms at the motel range from $45 to $65 a night and feature the ambiance and decor of far-away lands, according to the motel's Web site. The escapees were in the China Room, Atkins said.

Pictures on the motel's Web site show the room painted a vibrant red with gold accents.

Chait, 26, of Germantown, Md., was serving seven years for robbery with a deadly weapon and a handgun violation in Montgomery County and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle in Frederick County.

Johnson, 24, of Sykesville, Md., was serving 8 1/2 years for first-degree burglary in Carroll County.

No disciplinary action has been recommended against any MCTC employee, Division of Correction spokesman Mark Vernarelli said. Prison officials were reviewing procedures to see if anything can be done to prevent similar incidents, he said.

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