Coppin State University and city police were seeking a man who escaped yesterday from a work detail at the university.
William Spessard, 40, was serving two years for auto theft and was an inmate at the Baltimore City Correctional Center. He was part of a work detail with three other men picking up trash in the Parlett L. Moore Library, in the 2500 block of W. North Ave., about 10:40 a.m. when he asked to use a bathroom and walked off, school officials said.
A campus police officer notified authorities and began a search within 10 minutes of Spessard's failure to return, police said.
Spessard had been in jail since last year and was to be released in October 2009, a university spokeswoman said. He is described as white, weighing about 160 pounds, with hazel eyes, a mustache and long brown hair in a ponytail. He was wearing a white T-shirt, blue jeans and state-issued work boots.
A university spokeswoman said the university signed a memorandum of understanding four years ago with the Maryland Division of Correction for road crews to clean and maintain the grounds. Before Spessard's escape, there had been no incidents involving the crews, she said.
Anyone knowing Spessard's whereabouts is urged to call 911 or university police at 410-951-3900.