While 10 Maryland state police troopers watched, a 25-year-old burglary suspect temporarily dispatched from the Carroll County jail to show them the scene of a crime in New Windsor decided to make a run for it.
It took a helicopter, two dogs and dozens of officers from three Carroll and Howard county agencies more than 11 hours to recapture him.
Richard Carlton Hart of the 300 block of Main St. in New Windsor was in the custody of eight detectives and two troopers about midnight Monday when "he decided he didn't really want to be with us anymore," said state police Detective Sgt. Michael E. Davey.
Sergeant Davey declined to reveal details of the escape, but said Mr. Hart was not wearing handcuffs when he fled. The sergeant said that to have had him in handcuffs would have been ineffective in their investigation -- similar to handcuffing an informant asked to do undercover drug buys.
Mr. Hart, one of three men arrested last week in connection with burglaries of cars in the Westminster area, had been cooperating with state police investigators on another crime, Sergeant Davey said.
The sergeant and other detectives decided to take Mr. Hart from the Carroll County Detention Center about 5 p.m. Monday because he promised to help them piece together another burglary in New Windsor.
Mr. Hart had been held on $75,000 bail. His bail was revoked after he was recaptured and he was charged with escape, which carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison.
Carroll Sheriff John H. Brown, who authorized Mr. Hart's release to state police custody, was miffed yesterday at what he deemed irresponsible police work.
The sheriff was especially upset, he said, when he learned that his office wasn't notified of Mr. Hart's disappearance until after 3 a.m. yesterday, more than three hours after he bolted from the cadre of troopers.
Sheriff Brown said he will no longer authorize the release of detention center inmates unless a county judge orders it.
Sergeant Davey said he didn't notify the sheriff immediately because he and his men were "actively involved in a search for Mr. Hart."
Sergeant Davey said a "barracks-wide effort" to find Mr. Hart -- including a helicopter and two search dogs -- was declared fruitless about 5:30 a.m. yesterday.
Mr. Hart's trail was cold until the Carroll Sheriff's Department learned he and a 15-year-old girl had been seen in Woodbine, Howard County.
Howard County police arrested Mr. Hart and a girl shortly before 11 a.m. yesterday.