The Herald Bulletin

Afternoon Update

Cops, courts and fires

April 28, 2014

New Castle jail escapees captured in friend's house

NEW CASTLE — Two inmates who escaped early Monday from an eastern Indiana jail were captured in a friend's house hours later, ending a search after one of them cut a hole in a second-story wall and they jumped to temporary freedom from the jail's roof.

Henry County Sheriff Butch Baker said Michael Bertram, 37, of Knightstown and Johnny Dennis, 41, of New Castle were captured about 1:30 p.m. Monday inside a friend's home a few miles from the county jail about 40 miles east of Indianapolis.

Baker said the men had been buffing floors in an eastern Indiana jail during an overnight work assignment when they escaped after Bertram used a stolen knife to cut a hole in a second-story jail wall, allowing them to climb to the roof and jump to freedom about 4 a.m.

"We try our best to keep them in, but they've got 24/7 to try to figure out how to get out," Baker told WTHR-TV.

Baker said Bertram and Dennis had been working overnight in the jail buffing floors and Dennis was also doing some painting work. Three guards had been monitoring their work by periodically looking down the jail's three hallways to check on their whereabouts, he said.

But around the time of the escape, Baker said one guard was booking in a new inmate, another was delivering medications to inmates and the third was starting his rounds.

The sheriff said around this time Bertram stopped his floor-buffing duties, entered the jail's food pantry and climbed a ladder to the pantry's second-story storage area. There, he used a knife that had been stolen from the jail's kitchen to make an opening in the pantry's plywood wall and then gain access to an exterior wall on the second-story, Baker said.

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