Inmate caught breaking back into jail with stolen smokes

WOODBINE, Ga. -- Police say a south Georgia inmate was arrested this morning as he tried to sneak back into jail with 14 packs of stolen cigarettes.

Camden County Sheriff Tommy Gregory said Harry Jackson, 25, was spotted and arrested as deputies investigated a 1:55 a.m. breakout and the burglary of a nearby convenience store.

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Mr. Jackson was in jail on a variety of drug charges.

“We thought we had two separate incidents. By the time we locate this guy, he’s one and the same,’’ the sheriff said.

Jail personnel suspected someone had broken out when a detention officer routinely checking doors found one to be unlocked that had been secure a few minutes earlier. As officers tried to determine who was missing, patrol deputies responded to an alarm at the Snappy Foods store about a block away, the sheriff said.

Meanwhile back at the jail, a deputy saw the shadow of a man trying to stealthily get into the jail. The man was arrested and found to be an inmate carrying about 14 packs of cigarettes, Sheriff Gregory said.

“When I took office Jan. 1, there were rumors that inmates were using wire off brooms to pop these electronic locks,’’ the sheriff said. “It turned out to be true.’’

The inmates were suspected of leaving through a recreation room door and getting out into the exercise yard where they could pick up contraband tossed over the fence, Sheriff Gregory said.

In fact, the sheriff said he suspects that played a role in the breakout.

The inmate was to have gone into the exercise yard and picked up cigarettes which are no longer allowed inside the jail, but found none. Having been told by other inmates to not come back without cigarettes, he climbed the fence and made his way to Snappy Foods.

There he broke a window, got into the store and took the cigarettes. As he tried to get back with the cigarettes, he was caught.

Jail cameras showed other inmates acting suspiciously and investigators are interviewing other inmates to determine if others were involved in a conspiracy, Sheriff Gregory said.

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