With the help of four friends, a 17-year-old male being transported from Madison escaped outside the Hall County Courthouse Thursday morning.
By early Friday morning, the 17-year-old and his friends had all been arrested.
The 17-year-old escaped from the custody of a private transportation company a few minutes before 8 a.m. He came from the Northeast Nebraska Juvenile Service Center to make a court appearance in Grand Island.
He escaped between the parking lot and the courthouse. “They were walking him from the parking lot at the old Public Safety Center, 131 S. Locust,” said Grand Island Police Capt. Jim Duering.
His friends came by “and picked him up right there on Locust Street,” Duering said.” The 17-year-old “jumped into a car that was barely stopped, leg shackles and all.
“We tracked him down and took him into custody, and we also took into custody four additional juveniles who were accomplices and referred one adult who harbored him after the fact,” he said.
A 15-year-old boy was the getaway driver, Duering said. A 15-year-old girl was also present.
“I think she assisted in trying to get the leg shackles and handcuffs off, and getting him from residence to residence as they were trying to avoid us through the course of the day,” he said.
Officers executed a search warrant in an apartment at 3033 W. Capital, which is allegedly the home of Craig Christensen, 58.
It was at his apartment “where we ultimately tracked down the escapee and two of the other juveniles,” Duering said.
Christensen was referred for two counts of accessory to a felony and two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor — all Class 1 misdemeanors.
Two 16-year-old girls were charged with conspiracy to facilitate escape.
The 15-year-old boy was taken to Boys Town. The 15-year-old girl was arrested for juvenile escape.
Two of the teens had active juvenile detention orders.
One of the 16-year-old girls was caught with less than an ounce of marijuana and drug paraphernalia, police say.
The 17-year-old was referred for juvenile escape.
Other than assisting police after the 17-year-old escaped, Hall County deputies had no role in transporting the juvenile.