Two Escaped Wisconsin Inmates Captured at Nonprofit, Authorities Say

April 17, 2020 Updated: April 17, 2020

A pair of prison inmates who escaped Columbia Correctional Institution in Wisconsin were arrested Friday after turning up at a nonprofit that feeds the homeless, police said.

James Robert Newman, 37, and Thomas E. Deering, 46, were taken into custody after arriving at the Rockford, Illinois, nonprofit some 90 miles south from where they escaped. Rockford police said via Twitter that the men were recognized from their wanted photos.

The inmates had been on the run since Thursday, according to the Portage, Wisconsin, police and the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office.

“This morning two men showed up at our door shivering, frozen, wearing prison issue sweats and thermal shirts,” the nonprofit, Miss Carly’s, wrote in a Facebook post Friday. “They had emergency blankets stuffed under their clothing. They looked just like the kind of people we want to help….but they weren’t.”

The inmates were stalled with an offer of coffee until police arrived, according to the post.

Rockford police said they were called after the escaped inmates showed up at the nonprofit in search of food. One of the inmates insisted he was not an escapee, police said.

The two were being held at the Winnebago County Jail, police said.

Newman was serving time for kidnapping and firearms charges, and Deering was imprisoned for burglary, kidnapping and sex assault charges, according to Wisconsin jail records.

Portage police said Thursday the two were believed to be headed toward the Madison area, south of the prison, and not believed to be in Portage.

The Sheriff’s Office advised local residents to lock their doors and stay home. The Wisconsin Department of Corrections said the men were considered dangerous.

Due to the CCP virus pandemic, Wisconsin has been under a statewide safer-at-home order, except for certain activities deemed essential, since March 25.

The CNN Wire and Epoch Times staff contributed to this report