On Wednesday, May 7, an inmate from the Columbia County Detention Facility has escaped and currently remains at large.
The preliminary investigation has revealed that around 4 am, an inmate told detention deputies inmate Steve A. Roberts had escaped during the night. Although the investigation is on-going, it is believed that Roberts left sometime after lights out on Tuesday night by climbing through ductwork and forcing a vent cover off allowing him access to the outside of the facility. It is highly unlikely Roberts acted alone and investigators are interviewing the other inmates.
Once alerted to the escape, deputies set up a perimeter and began checking the surrounding areas with Sheriff K9 units and DOC K9 units. A state wide BOLO has been issued. Roberts had an address in Jacksonville, therefore law enforcement in that area has been briefed on the incident.
This is the only escape from this facility in the last five years. In the wake of this incident, Sheriff Mark Hunter has ordered a complete review of jail procedures and an inspection of the detention facility.
Roberts has an extensive criminal history mostly involving thefts and property crimes. He was currently in jail on warrants for such offenses. Roberts is a white male, 42 years old, 5’09”, 180, with blue eyes and short brown hair. Any sighting, contact Columbia County Sheriff’s Office at 386-719-2005 or your local law enforcement.
On May 8, The Florida Regional Fugitive Task Force took Roberts into custody in Jacksonville Florida without incident.
The Fugitive Task Force took Roberts into custody at 11:30 am at the Villas at the Woodlands, 2725 Crane Ave in Jacksonville as a direct result of the on-going investigation from Columbia County and assistance from the community.
The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office wishes to thank the Marshal Service, JSO, and the citizens of Duval and Columbia Counties for their support and diligence.
The Florida Regional Fugitive Task Force has members from the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office, Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office and U.S. Marshals.
Roberts is being held in Duval County Jail due to local warrants from that jurisdiction and he will answer charges in Columbia County at a later time.