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Army inmate escapes van Friday

For the second time in a week, Port Orchard police officers have helped corral a man trying to avoid an appointment at the Kitsap County Courthouse.

According to Chief Al Townsend, Fort Lewis corrections officers were transporting Steven Pemberton, 22, of South Kitsap, to a hearing in Kitsap County Superior Court around 8 a.m. on Friday. When the van arrived and officers opened the doors however, Pemberton jumped out and took off running.

Townsend said Pemberton had apparently used a razor blade to cut his way through the nylon “body cuff,” which was used to attach his handcuffs to his body. Pemberton told police he got the razor at the Fort Lewis corrections facility, according to Townsend.

“He then ran 10 to 15 blocks toward Caseco Lane and Wilkens Drive,” Townsend said, explaining that although Pemberton had apparently used part of a torn shirt to cover his handcuffs, he still was easy to spot.

“Officer Jerry Jensen heard the call come out over CenCom, then saw a man jogging wearing green shorts, a green t-shirt, and with a military-like haircut,” Townsend said.

Pemberton was then arrested without incident and returned to the custody of the corrections officers. Townsend said Pemberton was booked under second-degree escape charges and returned to Fort Lewis.

Kitap County Prosecutor Ryan Witt said before his temporary escape Pemberton was facing a potential sentence of 72 to 96 months on several charges, including felony second-degree burglary, possession of a stolen weapon, domestic violence and three counts of forgery.

“Now, however, he might be looking at federal court charges,” Witt said.

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