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Escaped inmate back in Armstrong jail, authorities say

| Friday, Feb. 14, 2014, 12:01 a.m.
Zachary Carter Eckman

An Armstrong County Jail inmate who escaped from his work release job at the county maintenance garage on Wednesday is back in jail on $75,000 bond.

Zachary Carter Eckman, 23, of Kittanning was caught in less than four hours after walking out of the garage near the courthouse on Market Street, Sheriff Bill Rupert said.

Eckman is serving a sentence of six to 24 months on charges of theft and criminal conspiracy.

β€œHe had gained everyone's trust and was allowed to do work release,” Rupert said.

But shortly before 2:30 p.m. β€” right before he was supposed to be taken back to jail β€” Eckman walked off the job.

Eckman was spotted by a correctional officer about 6 p.m. along North Water Street riding as a passenger in a friend's white Pontiac Grand Am, the criminal complaint alleges. But Eckman was not in the car when it was stopped by state police.

Driver Harley Storrs told police he had dropped Eckman off and arranged to pick up the fugitive again so he could be arrested. Within 10 minutes, police stopped the car again, this time with Eckman inside.

Eckman allegedly got out of the vehicle and ran south on Orr Street before being tackled to the ground by a trooper, the complaint said.

He was arrested on a felony escape charge and misdemeanor charges of resisting arrest and disorderly conduct.

He is awaiting a preliminary hearing before District Judge James Owen on those charges.

Storrs will not be charged in connection with the case, Rupert said.

Brigid Beatty is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-543-1303 or bbeatty@tribweb.com.

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