NEW MIDDLETOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – New Middletown police say that last week’s search for a fake fugitive that took hours could cost between $25,000 and $30,000.
The suspect, Brandon Bennett, 30, is in the Mahoning County Jail facing charges of disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, theft and escape. Police said he was lying when he told them another man was involved when police showed up at the Camelot Mobile Home Park to question Bennett about reports of fireworks going off. Bennett said another man, who was armed and dangerous, was with him but fled.
Police launched a search that included several departments and a helicopter. At least nine additional police departments responded including:
- Beaver Township
- Poland Township
- Poland Village
- Ohio State Highway Patrol
- OSP helicopter
- Mahoning Township
Police discovered that Bennett had outstanding warrants and tried to detain him but he ran from police twice that night.
Police are seeking additional charges against Bennett including driving under suspension, obstructing justice and inducing panic.
“Driving under suspension because he did operate a stolen vehicle, obstructing justice because he knew the information he was providing that night to the investigators created that situation and then inducing panic because he caused the community to be concerned for their safety,” said Chief Vince D’Egidio, New Middletown Police.
Steve Chaszeyka lives down the street from the Camelot Mobile Home Park and said the area was on high alert during the search.
“We made sure we called the rest of our family to let them know, and we just hunkered down for a while,” said Chaszeyka.
D’Egidio said Bennett managed to escape police by getting his handcuffs in front of him and wiggling out of them. He pushed the shield window open and climbed through the 12×14 inch opening. He then propped himself on the officer’s bag in the front seat and managed to put the window down and climbed out.
An officer was talking with a witness about 20 feet away when Bennett executed his escape.
“We are going to look at adjusting that cage partition and putting in a wire mesh type enclosure and that would prohibit anything like that from happening in the future,” D’Egidio said.