Thursday, December 25, 2014

Officers searching for man who escaped custody

By The Herald Staff | 3/6/2014

Law enforcement officials were searching Thursday for a 31-year-old Ottawa man who ran from a court security officer in the hallway of the Franklin County District Court building after being sentenced to serve time in the county jail.

Mark Wayne Baber, a white man described as being medium height and about 200 pounds wearing a black sweatshirt and black pants, was last seen 9:45 a.m. Thursday at the corner of Fourth and Main streets, heading west on Fourth Street. 

Officers with the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office and Ottawa Police Department were combing residential neighborhoods on West Fourth Street and the surrounding area Thursday. Law enforcement officials also were contacting businesses Thursday to alert them about the escaped man.

“He had been remanded into custody and escaped from court security in the hallway in the district court building,” Jeff Richards, Franklin County sheriff, said. “He had been sentenced to serve time in jail for a probation violation.”

Baber was arrested a half dozen times in 2013 on warrants from Franklin County, the City of Ottawa, the City of Pomona and Douglas County, according to Herald archives. He was arrested by Ottawa police officers in June 2013 in connection with a pair of burglaries on Pebble Beach Lane in Ottawa. He also was arrested last March on suspicion of possession of drugs and driving with a suspended driver’s license.

The police department and school officials had been in communication but determined it was not necessary to lock down the schools because of Baber’s escape, Jeanne Stroh, Ottawa superintendent, said Thursday afternoon. Baber has never been arrested in connection with a violent crime.

Baber was still at-large about 2 p.m. Thursday, Richards said.

Anyone who has seen Baber or who has information about his location should call 911.

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