Red-faced Oregon sheriff vows no more escapes

MEDFORD, Ore. — A Southern Oregon sheriff says he’s embarrassed a bank robber suspected of hatching an escape plot last year in Coos Bay could get out of his jail by leaping into a tree.

Whether heads will roll is not yet known, but trees have already fallen.

Authorities continued Wednesday to look for Bradley William Monical, 42, who was awaiting trial in March for a 2010 bank robbery in Ashland. Investigators say he stood on another inmate’s shoulders, removed a piece of metal mesh from the roof covering, and jumped into the nearby tree.

That tree has been cut down, along with several others nearby. The roof cover, atop a recreation area, is being replaced with a stronger material.

An internal review of policies and procedures was also under way, the Medford Mail Tribune reported.

“When I get done with this, we’re never having another one,” said Jackson County Sheriff Mike Winters. “We own this deal, and we’re going to make it right.”

Monical was accused of entering a PremierWest Bank office wearing a hat, sunglasses and bandanna and brandishing a gun. Investigators said he grabbed undisclosed amounts of cash from each teller station before running from the bank.

“He had admitted on multiple occasions to robbing various banks throughout the Northwest,” Winters said.

Monical was convicted in 2011 of a bank robbery in Coos Bay, and sentenced to 22 years.

Winters said his office didn’t know that correction officers already suspected he planned to escape. Corrections officers said they found a handmade rope around his chest and handmade insoles in his socks as they got ready to take him to court, leading them to believe he planned an escape through windows 12 feet off the ground.

Winters said a guard was on duty during the escape Monday night, but the guard had responsibilities for a larger area.

Pouring rain thwarted a tracker dog.

The recreation area is surrounded by concrete walls and reinforced steel. Winters said deputies are still trying to figure out how Monical was able to remove the mesh cover.

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