Escaped inmate recaptured in Baltimore


An escaped prisoner recaptured yesterday by a police task force was being interviewed at the Baltimore City Detention Center last night, as state police attempted to learn how he and another man were able to break out of the detention center early Wednesday.

Edward G. Cooper, 32, whose last known address was in the 800 block of N. Broadway, was arrested shortly before 10 a.m. at a rowhouse in the 3400 block of Ravenwood Ave. by members of a task force of city police and other law enforcement officers, according to the Maryland State Police.

Detention center officials said Mr. Cooper and John A. Wagner, 21, used two hacksaw blades and a 70-foot rope fashioned from bedsheets to break out of a medium-security dormitory in the Jail Industries Building between 2 a.m. and 5 a.m. Wednesday.

Michael McKelvin, a state police spokesman, said of yesterday's capture, "We knocked on the door. Someone responded and he gave up peacefully. He was placed in handcuffs and taken back to the Baltimore City Detention Center."

Commissioner LaMont W. Flanagan, who oversees the former City Jail for the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, said an internal affairs unit that routinely investigates escapes was interviewing Mr. Cooper yesterday. Authorities hoped to learn whether the two prisoners were helped by other inmates or by correctional staff, Mr. Flanagan said, adding that escape charges likely would be filed against Mr. Cooper.

Mr. Cooper, awaiting trial on charges of armed robbery and assault, had been in the detention center since April in lieu of posting $180,000 bail.

The task force that apprehended him, called the Maryland Joint Violent Crime Fugitive Task Force, includes officers from the city, Baltimore County, the state police and the FBI.

Mal Fleming, FBI supervisor of the task force, said officers spent most of Wednesday afternoon and evening interviewing Mr. Cooper's friends and acquaintances and trying to locate the fugitive.

After a tip the task force received about Mr. Cooper's whereabouts in Northeast Baltimore, an armed team of four officers raided the house, Mr. McKelvin added. State police detective Sgt. Steve Chaney led the raid, he said.

"People go back to where they are from and they associate with people they know," Mr. Fleming said. Task force members were still searching for Mr. Wagner, whose address was listed as the first block of S. Monroe St. Mr. Wagner had been in the detention center for nearly a year on charges stemming from the armed robbery of a business. He was being held in lieu of $150,000 bail.

Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Mr. Wagner may call the task force at 265-8080.

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