Escaped Brown County inmate suspected of stealing van to flee area

Escaped Brown County inmate suspected of stealing van to flee area

GEORGETOWN, Ohio (FOX19) - Authorities continue the search for a Brown County inmate after he escaped from the jail for the second time in two months.

Hobert Roark, 40, escaped from jail a little before 7 p.m. Tuesday, according to Brown County Sheriff Gordon Ellis.

The sheriff says Roark got out by exploiting “a weakness in one of the security windows.”

An all-out search for Roark ensued. Authorities used K9s and aviation assets to search the area, but the inmate was not found.

Then, around 1:45 a.m. Wednesday, Sheriff Ellis says they suspect Roark stole a white 1995 Ford van in the 600 block of Mount Orab Pike and left the area. The Ohio license plate on the van is DJX-6600, according to the sheriff’s office.

Sheriff Ellis says messages and broadcasts to law enforcement agencies throughout Ohio and the surrounding states have been issued.

Roark is being held on multiple charges including burglary, grand theft, receiving stolen property, failure to comply with a police officer, and possession of firearms under disability, according to a release from the Brown County Sheriff’s Office issued in November.

He is now facing an additional charge of escape, the sheriff’s office says.

“Bottom line, I don’t know a total number of years that he’s facing, but it’s safe to say he’s looking at spending the next couple of decades in prison,” says Brown County Prosecuting Attorney Zac Corbin.

This is now the second time Roark has escaped from the Brown County Jail. Both times, Roark escaped through a window.

On Nov. 17, Roark ran off around 6:30 p.m. after he broke a security window at the jail, the sheriff’s office said.

“Back in November, around the 16th or 17th, the same inmate escaped from this jail,” says Corbin. “On that occasion, he was able to use some part of his bed that he disassembled, and then used a steel piece of that bed to manage to knock out a window.”

He was arrested at a Goodwill store in Portsmouth and taken into custody without incident by the Portsmouth Police Department.

Anyone with information on the possible location of Roark is asked to contact Detective Sergeant Quinn Carlson at 937-378-4435 extension 130.

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