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Jail inmate escapes—but not for long

May 13, 2009
OSSIPEE — An inmate awaiting trial on four felony charges for allegedly robbing the North Conway Rite Aid last November escaped from the Carroll County House of Corrections on May 8 only to be apprehended less than an hour later near Route 16 in Ossipee.

Arthur James Schroeder, 27, of North Conway, fled on foot from the county farm, where he and other inmates were working under the supervision of farm and jail officials on Friday afternoon.

The Carroll County Sheriff's Office received a call from the House of Corrections at 1:18 p.m., and immediately set up a command center and perimeter around the jail, including roadblocks. Fish and Game officials, State Police and police from Madison, Tuftonboro, Wakefield, Ossipee, Effingham, Wolfeboro, Tamworth, Freedom and Conway positioned themselves around the perimeter. Medstar Ambulance also participated in the search.

N.H. Conservation Officer Mark Hensel and Sergeant Tim Butts of the Effingham Police Department apprehended Schroeder without incident shortly before 2 p.m. The search took only 41 minutes.

Captain Jon Hebert of the sheriff's department said Schroeder was found "about a mile" from the jail "in the woods between the sheriff's department and Route 16." Hensel and Butts were stationed nearby at Green Mountain Furniture.

"It was a very good exercise as far as the infrastructure worked very well," said Hebert. "The command post was established quickly, everyone came together and it was pretty much textbook from then on."

He recalled the last escape was about five years ago, when an inmate "bolted out a door" at the old jail on Thanksgiving. It took a day to recover that inmate, he said.

Schroeder had been indicted by a Carroll County grand jury on felony charges of robbery, theft, possession of narcotics and driving after being deemed a habitual offender for allegedly robbing the Rite Aid in North Conway of $48,000 worth of Oxycontin on Nov. 18.

After allegedly threatening a pharmacy clerk, jumping over the counter and stealing the pills, he was tracked first to his getaway car nearby at Friendly's then by car to Wal-Mart by a Rite Aid customer. The Conway Police Department, State Police and the Carroll County Sheriff's Office then collaborated on a search of Redstone that eventually led them to Schroeder at the Intervale Motel in North Conway. He has been held on personal recognizance bail since.

A repeat offender, Schroeder has a long history of trouble with the law. In 2001, he was found guilty of driving after revocation/suspension in Conway, for which he was fined $350 and handed a suspended sentence of 10 days in the county jail. In November 2004, he was arrested in Conway for simple assault; the charge was placed on file without finding, conditional on good behavior. He pled guilty to issuing bad checks in June 2005 and was fined $100 and ordered to pay restitution. Less than two years later, he was arrested again by State Police and charged with operating after being deemed a habitual offender.

According to The Conway Daily Sun, Schroeder had already served a one-year sentence at the jail for a probation violation. Jail Captain Jason Johnson—who could not be reached by phone or e-mail Tuesday afternoon—told The Sun that the jail will now review how it determines inmates' eligibility for working on county grounds. "[Schroeder] had no hold to keep him inside," Johnson told the paper. "I just put him out on a work crew; it went bad."

Schroeder was arraigned on new charges related to the escape at Southern Carroll County District Court in Ossipee on Wednesday morning, after this issue went to press.

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