Two escapees back in custody

LISBON –The two escapees from the Columbiana County Jail didn’t get very far, with both arrested Tuesday in the same towns where they live.

Anthony R. Wagoner, 38, of 741 Cadmus St., East Liverpool, was taken into custody about 8:15 a.m. at a home at 726 Cadmus St., while Michael W. Hover Jr, 28, Third Street, Salem, was found about 12:30 p.m. at a home on Olive Street, Salem, about 12:30 p.m..

Wagoner and Hover, along with Michael Conzett, escaped from the minimum-security wing of the county at 11:30 p.m. Sunday by breaking a window in the shower area and tearing out the metal cover. Once outside, they used a device to cut through the security fence and crawl out. Hover and Wagoner ran down the hill to County Home Road and left in a passing vehicle. Conzett apparently changed his mind and returned to the jail.

East Liverpool Police Chief John Lane said his department received a tip early Tuesday morning Wagoner was at the Cadmus Street home and that he was making threats and might have a gun. Lane and his officers, with help from the Liverpool and St. Clair townships’ police departments and sheriff’s deputies, arrived about 6:45 a.m to take up positions around the house.

A woman and man left the house on their own, leaving only Wagoner inside. Lane went to the front door and told Wagoner to surrender or they were going to send in the St. Clair Township’s police dog, Axel. After the third warning, Axel was sent in. Wagoner ran out the back door and was chased for two blocks before being captured. In the process he was shot twice with stun guns. No firearm was found.

Like East Liverpool, Salem police received a tip at 12:20 p.m. that Hover was at the Olive Street address. Police surrounded the house and approached the back door, which was open. They could see Hover sitting on a chair in the kitchen and he surrendered without incident.

“He was soaking wet and scratched up. It looked like he had a really long night,,” Salem Police Chief J.T. Panezott of Hover.

Police are investigating whether Hover was involved in the theft of a vehicle early Tuesday morning. Police received a tip about Hover at 3:27 a.m. and were on the their way to Fair Avenue when they came across a stolen vehicle fleeing east on Pershing Street. Police ended the pursuit when the vehicle began speeding through business parking lots.

The vehicle later crashed on U.S. Route 62 at the border of Perry and Goshen townships. The driver fled on foot and efforts to locate the person using the police dog were unsuccessful.

Wagoner, Hover and Conzett are all facing possible felony escape charges.

Stone said the jail staff conducted a further search of the facility and found diagonal cutting pliers in one of the inmate tooms, along with tobacco. All jail tools were accounted for, leading the sheriff to conclude the cutting pliers were somehow smuggled into the facility.

“My assumption is they were left outside the fence (for the inmates to retrieve) and they brought them back inside, maybe to use later,” he said.

Stone pointed out the misdemeanor wing, which houses non-violent low level offenders, once served as a county nursing home before its conversion in the 1990s, making it less than an ideal facility to incarcerate inmates.

“This was never built to be a jail … They’ve had issues there as long as I’ve been here,” he said.

The last escape at the county jail occurred in August 2008 and in the maximum security wing, when four inmates made their way to the roof and jumped off. The jail is currently run by GEO Group, a private company hired by county commissioners. A new company, Correctional Solutions Group, is scheduled to take over operations July 1.