COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — An inmate who walked away from a Franklin County corrections center has been taken back into custody.
According to a spokesperson with the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, Jacob Benjamin Loper, was taken into custody just after 4 a.m., Thursday.
Loper was scheduled to be transferred to the U.S. Marshals Service, but when other inmates were being released from the correction center, he walked away and got into a waiting vehicle around 9 a.m., according to a sheriff’s office spokesperson.
The driver and vehicle were later located, but Loper was not with them. The spokesperson said the driver reported that she dropped him off at Broad Street and Burgess Avenue in the Hilltop. It was not immediately clear whether the driver knew Loper was escaping.
Franklin County Sheriff Dallas Baldwin said the normal releasing area at the jail is undergoing maintenance, so the inmates who were leaving because they bonded out or completed their sentences were put into the same booking area as those who were being transferred to another agency.
Baldwin added that Loper changed into civilian clothes, which is normal in a transfer of custody. After that, the sheriff said Loper intermingled with the group that was permitted to leave and walked out of the jail.
Baldwin said there are no excuses for the incident, as an inmate should not be able to walk out of the building as easily as Loper did.
“There’s an internal review going on currently,” Baldwin said. “Our detective bureau’s reviewing it, along with the corrections chain of command, and they’ll find out why. 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. Like I said, we haven’t had an escape in 24 years, so we’re not sure that it was a failure of policy or a failure of an employee.”
Loper was originally slated on several federal felony drug charges. The sheriff’s office has filed an escape charge against him as well, the spokesperson said.