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Fugitive’s Escapes Surprise Residents


SPRINGFIELD, Ore. — The escaped inmate who Springfield police shot at Thursday appears to be back in the Douglas County area, after the car he stole turned up in Sutherlin.

Springfield police almost caught 32-year-old Thomas Grimes.

With three escapes now under his belt, folks are wondering what makes this guy so special.

Springfield police couldn’t speak to that but said Grimes has an extensive criminal history–auto theft, eluding police, felony domestic violence and several other assault charges.

The list continued as Grimes nearly ran over an officer during a Thursday escape.

“It is impressive because it does take a lot of motivation and a decent amount of skill to do so,” said Springfield resident Caitlin Hanks.

His ability to elude more than once has folks wondering.

“I mean is he that good of a criminal? I was surprised he was able to avoid capture so many times,” said Eugene resident Dana Rubin.

There were a few theories.

“I feel part of it might be understaffing at some of these facilities,” Rubins said.

“It’s the law of averages. Eventually you’re going to be able to find somebody with the abilities to do that,” said Springfield resident Norman Slater.

“It might just be a lot of luck involved in it. He might not be an expert on escaping. He just got lucky a couple times,” said Springfield resident Edward Zivica.

Springfield police say it was possibly a little bit of luck and a whole lot of something much more dangerous.

“A lot of this is a total disregard for public safety. This is not an impressive feat by any means. I’ve seen people that have gotten away on multiple occasions because of that total disregard,” said Springfield Police Sgt. Umenhofer.

Officers say Grimes’ nothing-to-lose mentality is difficult to combat and is the real reason behind his success, but it’s only a matter of time before it all catches up to him.

The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office says grimes is a prolific car thief.

The car Grimes stole Thursday to escape was found parked near Sutherlin.

Police are now waiting for calls on stolen vehicles in the area in hopes of finally bringing him in.

If you have any information, contact Springfield police.

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