Baltimore man escapes from custody at county courthouse


A Baltimore man charged in a June burglary at a Columbia business escaped from the Howard County Circuit Courthouse yesterday minutes after a bondsman turned him in on a warrant.

Sheriff's deputies, police officers, park rangers, search dogs and two police helicopters spent yesterday afternoon searching a wooded area north of the Ellicott City courthouse for Richard Allen Shrout.

By late yesterday, Mr. Shrout had not yet been apprehended, VTC even though authorities had set up roving patrols and closed off the area between the courthouse and Patapsco Valley State Park for about three hours.

Mr. Shrout, 23, is described as white, with brown hair, about 5 feet 8 inches tall and weighing about 120 pounds.

The sheriff's office distributed pictures of Mr. Shrout to area police, kept watch on his home in the 2800 block of Eastshire Drive in South Baltimore, and checked with his relatives and friends.

"We had no idea whatsoever he was a flight risk," Sheriff Michael Chiuchiolo said. "We didn't have all the history on the guy."

Sheriff Chiuchiolo said the bondsman did not inform his office until after the escape that Mr. Shrout had escaped from home detention in another case and had led police on a high-speed chase before his arrest this summer.

The sheriff said he will conduct a review of his office's procedures for handling suspects brought in on warrants to determine whether any changes should be made.

A bondsman from Lexington National Insurance Co. of Baltimore picked up Mr. Shrout in Baltimore yesterday morning on a warrant issued by Judge James Dudley after Mr. Shrout failed to appear for a Sept. 1 hearing.

Sgt. Randolph Roby said he and the bondsman were escorting Mr. Shrout to a detention facility in the sheriff's office when Mr. Shrout ran out a door in the courthouse lobby about 12:05 p.m.

Mr. Shrout, who was not handcuffed or shackled, ran through the courthouse parking lot and into the woods across from the facility, with Sergeant Roby and the bondsman in pursuit, the sergeant said.

Police Officer Mark Thomey, who was entering the courthouse, joined in the chase, but Mr. Shrout eluded his pursuers.

Mr. Shrout was last spotted running down a ravine near the Patapsco Institute historical site, toward the railroad tracks along the Patapsco River, Sergeant Roby said.

Mr. Shrout was arrested in July on charges of theft, storehouse breaking and entering, and malicious destruction after a June 27 burglary at Developmental Services Group Inc. in Columbia.

Office equipment valued at about $10,000 was stolen from the company's office.

Mr. Shrout was released on $10,000 bond after his arrest, but the bond was revoked when he did not show up for the Sept. 1 hearing, according to court records.

Sheriff Chiuchiolo said he expects Mr. Shrout to be charged with escape in connection with yesterday's incident.

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