Escaped inmate broke into DOT facility, officials say

Escaped inmate broke into DOT facility, officials say


by TONY BURBECK / NBC Charlotte

Bio | Email | Follow: @TonyWCNC

Posted on January 13, 2014 at 7:22 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jan 14 at 9:45 AM

SALISBURY, N.C. -- Investigators say a convicted felon who escaped overnight from a minimum security prison in Salisbury committed at least one crime as soon as he got out.

Fugitive crews are still looking for 27-year-old Jonathan Dixon. Guards reported him missing after conducting a bunk check at 4 a.m. Monday at the Piedmont Correctional Facility. The previous bunk check was 11 p.m.

Two Rowan County Schools - Southeast Middle School and Knollwood Elementary - are still on lockdown Tuesday morning because authorities believe Dixon could still be in the area.

Deputies say as soon as Dixon escaped, he broke into a NCDOT storage building next door and stole a uniform jacket with the name patch “Haywood”. Authorities have already charged Dixon with that crime.

They also say me might be responsible for another break-in at a nearby storage facility. Nothing was taken, but authorities found a boot print matching the type of boot inmates wear at the correctional facility.  

Dixon had three years left on his prison sentence after multiple convictions for larceny, breaking and entering and possessing and receiving stolen goods.

Officials say early Monday morning Dixon decided he had enough of life behind gates, barbed wire and locks.

"We're just trying to figure out-- did he go out a fence or go out a gate," said Region Director Todd Pinion.

Guards reported the escape during the 4 a.m. bunk check, right before inmates eat breakfast. The last check bunk check with Dixon still there was 11 Sunday night.

"What we're trying to find out is exactly how did he leave, and by doing so, what we are doing is looking at our dorm logs, looking at our perimeter checks, looking to see if we can pinpoint exactly when he left," Pinion said.

Also pinpoint what went wrong and if Dixon had help.

The facility doesn't have security cameras so nothing is caught on tape.

Michael Grissom lives across the street from the correctional facility. He's not worried Dixon might be hanging around.

"I feel like if he was escaping to get away from here, he's got away from here; he's not hanging around the area where they are looking for him."

Prison records show Dixon had five previous in-custody infractions, including disobeying orders and swearing.

Pinion says they had no problems with Dixon in the seven months he's been at Piedmont-- until now.

"They need to figure out how he got away, take measures to prevent it from happening again," Grissom said.

The overnight escape put two nearby schools into temporary lockdown, but those lockdowns ended around 10:15 Monday morning.

Officials think Dixon could be heading to Pitt County because he has family and friends there.  They do not believe he is armed.

Anyone with information about Dixon's whereabouts is asked to call 911.