A man’s middle-of-the-night attempt to escape from a western Montana jail ended with him retreating through the ductwork and surrendering so his fellow inmates could get some sleep, Ravalli County prosecutors said.
Simeon Keith Lippert, 24, made an initial appearance before Justice of the Peace Robin Clute on Tuesday on charges of attempted escape and criminal mischief. His bail was set at $225,000, the Ravalli Republic reported ().
Guards were tipped to the attempted jailbreak when a detention officer noticed a camera outside an entrance was being pointed down at 1:13 a.m. She then saw a piece of grout and a brick hit the ground.
Sgt. Keith Seppel went outside and spotted several bricks on the ground along with a pair of orange detention center shoes and a shirt and shorts made out of a bed sheet. He looked up and spotted a foot disappearing into a hole in the wall and could hear someone crawling through the ductwork, court records said.
The officers locked down the jail and began searching.
At 1:30 a.m., Lippert got on the intercom in the West jail block and said: “Come get me so the rest of these guys can get some sleep,” court records said.
Lippert, who is from Missoula, is a registered sex offender who has been jailed since March awaiting a decision on the revocation of a deferred sentence he received for a 2008 conviction for sexual intercourse without consent.
Sheriff Chris Hoffman released a statement Wednesday saying a lock was broken to gain entry to the jail’s heating and cooling access areas and that electrical conduit and cinder blocks were damaged in the escape attempt. He said it appeared Lippert acted alone.