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Nunchuck-wielding escapee from St. Louis jail sentenced to 15 years

Nunchuck-wielding escapee from St. Louis jail sentenced to 15 years

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Lorenzo Pollard

Lorenzo Pollard, of St. Louis, was sentenced on Dec. 10, 2012, on various charges related to his escape from the St. Louis workhouse using makeshift nunchucks he made out of items in his cell.

ST. LOUIS   •   An inmate who staged one of the more dramatic escapes from the city's lockups — using homemade nunchucks to keep several jailers at bay and chip through a glass window to freedom — was sentenced to 15 years in prison on Monday for his escapades. 

Lorenzo Pollard's Sept. 16, 2011, escape from the Medium Security Institution on Hall Street was the second jail break that year and prompted a wholesale review of security at the city's two facilities. The other involved two inmates who escaped from the infirmary at the St. Louis Justice Center downtown by crawling through a ceiling panel and climbing down the building with a string of bedsheets.

Pollard fashioned his nunchucks with metal parts of a bolted-down desk inside his cell. He hid the weapon among shower items and while being led to the bathroom came out swinging. In less than four minutes, Pollard chipped an 18-by-18-inch hole in a glass block window, climbed through, fell two stories onto a concrete pad and outran a guard before scaling two barbed and razor wire fences to freedom.

Pollard had been housed on charges of theft, trespassing, property damage and resisting arrest. He was caught a few nights after the escape when a police officer saw him walking on the street and recognized him. 

On Monday, Pollard, 41, pleaded guilty to all the charges —  10 felony counts in all — and was sentenced by St. Louis Circuit Court Judge Thomas Frawley. 

Also on Monday, a set of charges related to a February incident were dismissed by prosecutors. In that case, Pollard and one of the bedsheet escapees, Vernon Lamont Collins, were accused of trying to break out on the same night by damaging the stools, ceiling and light fixtures in their respective cells. Jail personnel reported hearing noises coming from the cells and the damage was discovered later.

Pollard also was accused of days later attacking a corrections officer who spotted a metal object in his cell. Pollard sprayed an unknown liquid from a water bottle into the officer's eye through the food slot. Then, according to charges, he jammed his cell door with the metal object, which was ultimately determined to be two metal brackets, one with a sharpened end.

The reported incident prompted officials to move Pollard to a Jefferson County facility. 

A spokesperson for Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce's office, reached late Monday, could not immediately say whether the charges were dropped as part of a plea deal. 

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Jennifer S. Mann is a reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

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