Inmate Was Still Handcuffed When He Took Off - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

07/27/05 - Polk County

Inmate Was Still Handcuffed When He Took Off

by Ramonica R. Jones

Prison dogs and horses spent all Wednesday morning trying to track down 30-year-old Robert Briggs.

Briggs escaped from custody after an officer freed one of his hands from his handcuffs so he could use the restroom in the Polk County courthouse. When Briggs came out of the restroom, he took off, jumped off a second floor stairwell, and got away.

Sheriff Kenneth Hammick said, "I would consider him a dangerous individual because he is a convicted felon looking at doing 20 years in TDC (Texas Department of Corrections). And right now, we don't know whether he was armed or whether he was not armed. I'd appreciate it if folks would approach him as possibly being armed and dangerous."

Folks around Livingston know him as "Mr. Bigg." Most we spoke with don't see him as dangerous.

"He's not a dangerous person," said a Livingston resident. "He's probably not going back to try to do time. If you sentence a person 20 to life, they're going to try to get away and do what they have to do. They just have to get out there and do their job, that's all."

Richarrell Farr said, "He was a nice guy. I know his brother, his sister and they all were nice people."

Authorities believe once Briggs ran away from the courthouse, he took off into a wooded area near downtown Livingston, where prison dogs and horses spent Wednesday looking for him.

Sheriff Hammick said they'll look for him "until at least we cover that area and are sure that he may not be in the woods - that he may be holed up in a house or someplace with friends or something - but we want to make sure that he's not in this wooded area."

Authorities chased Briggs for five blocks. A command post has now been set up where they last saw him.

Briggs was last seen in everyday clothes with one hand still in handcuffs. If you've seen him or know where he might be, call the Polk County Sheriff's Office or Livingston Crimestoppers.

There is a reward for the tip that leads to his capture.

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