Escaped convict captured Monday transferred to higher security prison

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 Stephen Singleton
Stephen Singleton

An escaped convict on the run for six days is out of the hospital and back in prison, after he was captured by local law enforcement Monday evening in Wilmington.

According to N.C. Department of Public Safety Spokesman Keith Acree, 34-year-old Stephen Singleton was transferred Tuesday afternoon to Pender Correctional Center, a medium security prison located at 906 Penderlea Highway in Burgaw.

Since his escape, Singleton was “demoted” from a minimum security facility like New Hanover Correctional Center from which he escaped on July 20, to the medium security prison in Pender County, Acree said.

Singleton, of Wilmington, broke free last week from the New Hanover Correctional Center by placing a shirt over the razor wire of the fence near his dorm. Multiple state and local law enforcement agencies searched for Singleton. On Monday evening members of the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office vice and narcotics unit and gang task force captured Singleton near the Sunset Park neighborhood just off Carolina Beach Road.

Deputies first located Singleton on Adams Street, where he tried to flee in a stolen vehicle but hit a parked car in the area, according to sheriff’s office spokesman Lt. Jerry Brewer. The escaped convict then got out of the crashed vehicle and ran away from law enforcement. After a foot chase, Singleton was found hiding inside a truck parked near a home in the 300 block of Bordeaux Street and captured at about 7:45 p.m. Monday, Brewer said.

Singleton was taken to the hospital to be treated for minor injuries in the crash, but has since been released, Acree said.

The department of public safety received various tips from citizens in both the city and county. Acree said most escapees from minimum security prisons are captured within a day or two. While a six-day escape is unusual, he said, there are some escapees who are on the run for much longer.

“We had a lot of information. We took a lot of leads, but he was always a step ahead,” Acree said about the six days Singleton evaded law enforcement.

Singleton was at New Hanover Correctional Center serving a 27- to 60-month sentence for a December 2015 conviction in New Hanover County on three felony charges, including two felony larceny charges and a felony habitual assault charge, Acree said. He was projected to be released in January 2018 before his escape last week.

Singleton was brought before a New Hanover County magistrate on a charge of felony escape, which was filed by the N.C. Department of Public Safety, Acree said.