Inmate escape, theft kept from public

Published 12:30 am Friday, October 26, 2007

VIDALIA — A Concordia Parish work-release inmate allegedly stole a truck and was on the loose for 10-and-a-half hours, but the information was not made public for at least five days.

The alleged theft happened three days before Saturday’s highly-watched primary, in which incumbent Sheriff Randy Maxwell won re-election over challenger Glenn Lipsey by 22 votes.

Cedric Milligan, 39, 10 Dales Alley, Vidalia, was booked on charges of simple escape Wednesday morning, but according to a Concordia Parish Sheriff’s Office dispatcher’s report he was reapprehended Oct. 18.

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According to the report, the sheriff’s office received a call about 4:30 p.m. Oct. 17 stating Milligan had taken a truck from Concordia Lumber in Vidalia.

“About 5 p.m. I got a call that said the truck and the inmate were missing,” Concordia Lumber Manager Allen Moss said.

The work release program is a program for non-violent offenders to spend their final few months of incarceration earning some money for their eventual release. Milligan worked for Concordia Lumber.

“I don’t really know why (Milligan) did it,” Moss said. “He only had something like a month left on his sentence, and he didn’t go that far.”

Milligan was apprehended at 3 a.m. the next morning in Clayton when a deputy sheriff saw the truck, the dispatcher’s report said.

The dispatcher’s report was dated Oct. 22. Reports are usually available the day after an incident.

When word of the inmate’s temporary disappearance first got out last week, Sheriff Randy Maxwell denied it was an escape.

“This was a girlfriend situation,” Maxwell said. “He is being disciplined for it, but how could he escape when he wasn’t locked up? These work-release guys aren’t locked up. They’re free to move around.”

“We’ve had this happen before, and the longer they’re late the more worried we get, but he turned himself in,” Maxwell said. “There wasn’t any escape except maybe if my political enemies blew that out of the water.”

As for why Milligan was not booked until Wednesday, CPSO Public Information Officer Kathleen Stevens said it was because the sheriff was investigating the alleged truck theft and had not decided on what charges to file against him, and he was rebooked when those charges were decided.

“Cedric Milligan was an inmate before, during and after the incident,” she said. “At no time was he considered not an inmate.”

Milligan was re-incarcerated at the Concordia Parish Correctional Facility.

Lipsey said Thursday he was unsure if the news would have affected the eventual outcome of the election.

Maxwell could not be reached for further comment after multiple attempts.