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Man tries to escape local jail through dugout hole

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news Dickinson, 58602
Dickinson North Dakota 1815 1st Street West 58602

A man tried to escape Dickinson’s jail by digging a 20-by-20 inch hole in a bathroom ceiling over the course of a week in February, according to charges.

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The hole was “beaten” into the ceiling of a shared restroom in a 16-men dormitory area at the Southwest Multi-County Correction Center, Stark County State’s Attorney Tom Henning said. After getting a tip about inmate Carroll Wells’ alleged plans, jail staff found the hole and went through old surveillance video, which showed him working away. Based on the video, investigators determined Wells, 34, was working on the hole Feb. 5-13.

Staff also found a rock — missing from a display in the building, — a pencil sharpener hub and handle in Wells’ personal property, Henning said. The rock “showed signs of impact,” he said.

Wells caused about $3,000 in damages to the bathroom, according to the March 4 criminal complaint, so Wells was also charged with criminal mischief.

Henning said the only other escape attempt he remembers at the Correction Center was an inmate going into the ceiling through a vent. Work crew member have also “just walked off” before, he said.

“It’s unusual but not unheard of,” he said of escape attempts.

Wells, of Granbury, Texas, pleaded not guilty at his preliminary hearing Monday. His pre-trial and trial dates haven’t been set.

In McKenzie County, Wells faces January charges of the unauthorized use of a vehicle, false reports to law enforcement and driving without a valid license. He also has pending stolen property and larceny charges in Oklahoma.

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