Jail Break Article


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Prisoners Saw Through Ceiling And Escape
Through Sheriff Office On Second Floor Of Building

Six prisoners, who were in the county jail awaiting trial on highway robbery charges in the November term of Circuit Court, sawed their way through the ceiling of their first floor quarters last Sunday afternoon and made their escape through the sheriff's office, located on the second floor immediately above them. They appropriated two revolvers and a shotgun, which they found in the office, but one of the revolvers and the shotgun were recovered a short while later.

The prisoners, Orville Ferguson, Chester Swinford, Ollie Leslie, Thomas Aldridge, Elmer Leslie and Lydle Nipper, were all held on the same charges, although growing out of different cases. Ferguson, Swinford and Nipper were held on charges growing out of the holdup of a crap game, which resulted in the shooting of Wm. King, of Desloge, and for holdups on the highway several months ago, and the two Leslies and Aldridge were held to account for robberies between Flat River and Elvins several weeks ago.

Following their escape from jail, which occurred while Sheriff Watts was absent from the building for a short while Sunday afternoon, they apparently separated, for, when the sheriff returned and discovered their absence, he summoned aid and, with a posse of assistants, soon came upon one of the revolvers and the shotgun, discovering four of the escaped prisoners a few minutes later. They were hidden under the porch of a residence, and offered no resistance when again placed under arrest. Those recaptured were the two Leslies, Thomas Aldridge and Lydle Nipper, the first three from St. Louis and the last named from Flat River.

Ferguson and Swinford made good their escape, for the time being at least, and no trace of them was found. It is presumed that the second revolver is in their possession. Authorities are of the opinion that they will be apprehended without much delay.

How the saw was smuggled into them is a mystery still unsolved, but this phase of the case is also receiving attention, and, if the guilty party is located, serious charges will be placed against him.

Published by THE LEAD BELT NEWS, Flat River, St. Francois Co. MO, Fri. Oct. 19, 1928.