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Florida fugitive captured after escaping in North Carolina

©Associated Press
February 23, 2003

MURPHY, N.C. -- A Florida inmate broke a window hinge and escaped from a North Carolina jail for several hours before a homeowner stopped him at gunpoint.

William Thomas Hewlett, 32, said he buried himself to avoid capture by the 50 or so deputies on his trail late Thursday, said Cherokee County Sheriff Keith Lovin.

"He was quite ingenious, actually," Lovin said.

Hewlett also told deputies he broke into a Cherokee County home for clothing and stole a pickup while on the lam. He was stopped by another homeowner Friday morning.

Hours after his recapture, Hewlett was brought to the Asheville Regional Airport be flown to Pinellas County.

In Florida, Hewlett faces multiple charges of armed robbery, bank robbery and home invasion, the sheriff said.

Hewlett was arrested Monday in North Carolina after leading deputies on a foot chase. Once in jail, Hewlett immediately set to work on breaking the window hinge, Lovin said.

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