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Authorities Evacuate Westmoreland Mall In Wake of Escaped Convicts

by Andrew Mawhinney

On Sunday, Sept. 29, Police evacuated Westmoreland Mall for two hours to search for Christopher Clemente, an escaped convict from the Galia County Jail in Ohio.

Clemente had been seen on the security cameras in the mall at approximately 11 a.m.

On early Sunday morning, Clemente, along with Brynn Martin, Troy McDaniel Jr., and Lawrence R. Lee III, used a makeshift weapon to overpower the two corrections officers on duty.

From there, they entered the jail’s administrative wing, stole a corrections officer’s vehicle, and drove to another vehicle that was waiting for them about a block away.

The Galia County sheriff’s office made a statement about the incident.

“Deputies have established that the inmates had assistance in escaping from at least one individual on the outside,” the office released. “All of the inmates should be considered extremely dangerous.”

At approximately 7:15 a.m., Clemente was spotted at a Sheetz on Route 22.

It was unclear whether the other three inmates were with him, but Clemente had been driving a gray 2019 Dodge Charger with an Ohio license plate.

At approximately 11 a.m., Clemente was seen at Westmoreland Mall, which was evacuated with a fire alarm at about 12:45 p.m.

The shops and buildings surrounding the mall were also evacuated, and police searched the mall while a helicopter circled above.

Patrons and staff were allowed to reenter Westmoreland Mall at approximately 2:45 p.m.

Greensburg Salem School District issued a two-hour delay for Monday, Sept. 30.

Clemente, Martin, and McDaniel were captured at around 2 a.m. on that same Monday. Local authorities alerted the Cary Police Department of the inmates’ location. They were at a Red Roof Inn and were arrested without incident.

Lee is believed to have been with them but fled the scene of the arrests. By Monday afternoon Lee was apprehended in Durham, North Carolina.

Sheriff Matt Champlin commented on the incident.

“I would like to thank the hard-working law enforcement professionals who have tirelessly dedicated themselves to providing an end to the search for these escapees,” he told Butler County’s Journal-News.

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