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Home arrow News arrow Local News arrow Police capture escaped inmate

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Police capture escaped inmate

Robert Lee Scarbrough was captured Thursday outside Pendleton. ().
Robert Lee Scarbrough was captured Thursday outside Pendleton. ().

By JAYSON JACOBY

Of the Baker City Herald

A Baker City prison escapee's week of freedom ended Thursday evening just a couple miles from where it started.

Robert Lee Scarbrough was arrested just after 8 o'clock at his camp along a rarely driven logging road about a half-mile from Interstate 84, Oregon State Police Lt. Darin Helman said.

Scarbrough, 33, escaped May 7 while working at Emigrant Springs State Park, along the interstate near Meacham.

He was a member of a 10-man crew of inmates from the Powder River Correctional Facility in Baker City.

Inmates from the minimum-security prison often work outside the walls.

Helman said police received a call Thursday evening from an anonymous tipster who reported seeing a man who resembled Scarbrough at the remote campsite.

The escapee's photograph was printed in local newspapers after his escape.

An OSP trooper and a deputy from the Umatilla County Sheriff's Office drove to the site and found Scarbrough.

Helman said Scarbrough struck up a conversation with the state trooper, asking whether it was legal to camp at the spot.

"He was trying to divert attention from the real reason the police were there," Helman said.

After asking his question Scarbrough fled on foot, Helman said.

The trooper caught Scarbrough after chasing him about 100 yards. Scarbrough did not resist the trooper after the chase ended, Helman said.

Scarbrough was not injured, and appeared to be healthy, Helman said.

"He was healthy enough to run 100 yards," Helman said. "But our trooper's in good shape."

Police are trying to figure out where Scarbrough obtained the tent, sleeping bag and other camping equipment the trooper and deputy found at the site, Helman said.

Investigators also don't yet know the source of the marijuana Scarbrough had.

In addition to several escape charges, Scarbrough was cited for possessing less than one ounce of the drug, Helman said.

Police don't know whether anyone helped Scarbrough after he escaped, or whether he spent the entire period at the campsite.

Scarbrough was sentenced to six years in prison after being convicted in Lane County in March 2000 on three counts of violating a stalking order.

He was scheduled to be released in March 2006.on

Scarbrough is the 57th Powder River inmate to escape since the prison opened in 1989.

All those escapees have been caught.

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