Inmate escapes county jail

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An inmate of the Crockett County Jail escaped and stole a vehicle in the early morning hours of Monday, July 6.

At approximately 2 a.m., inmate Gerald ‘Pete’ Samples, 53 of Gibson County, escaped police custody while working on night duty as a trustee.

According to the Crockett County Court Clerk Office, Samples has a lengthy criminal history and was being held at the Crockett County Jail on charges of felony robbery and kidnapping and a class A misdemeanor assault from 2018. This was bound over to the grand jury in 2019 and is currently pending in Crockett County Circuit Court.

He also has pending cases from a September 2018 theft of property and February 2019 evading arrest and reckless endangerment.

Haywood County Sheriff’s Department currently has two open warrants for theft of property on Samples.

He was arrested in 2009 on three counts of theft of property in Crockett County and in 2010 he entered a guilty plea in the multi-jurisdictional theft of property between $1,000 to $10,000 with Humboldt Police Department, Gibson County Sheriff’s Department and Crockett County Sheriff’s Department that ran concurrently on a 10-year sentence. He was arrested in 2012 on a violation of parole in relation to these charges and was sent to the penitentiary to serve his sentence. He was released in September 2016.

Samples frequently worked on the county litter truck picking up trash across the county and had recently begun waxing the floors at the Crockett County Sheriff’s Department at night.

According to Crockett County Sheriff Troy Klyce, trustees have different duties that are earned based off of their charges and good behavior.

“Now I have three trustees left and we just have to go with our gut when making work assignments,” said Klyce. “A lot of these guys are career offenders but when they get in jail and they’re clear of drugs, they’re good workers and good people. Most of the times it works out and sometimes it doesn’t. Samples has been in and out of jail since 1983 and served as a trustee then and many times since. He was looking at serving less than six years but now he’s increased his charges. Trustees help cook, clean, work on vehicles and put community service hours in with non-profits and government areas in Crockett giving them a purpose. It’s a risk but it provides a service to the community that saves many people a lot of money.”

Within five minutes of Samples escape, it was noticed that he was missing. Samples had been a trustee for eight months working seven days each week.

Upon his escape, Samples stole the 2008 Ford F150 used by the litter crew with government tag number 8736GD. The truck may be identified as having a small chrome billet grill on the front, a lower right fender door panel dent, an orange strap across the truck bed and an extra antenna on top.

Samples will receive additional charges of escape and theft over $2,500 but under $10,000.

Anyone with information about the location of Samples is encouraged to avoid confronting Samples and contacts the Crockett County Sheriff’s Department immediately at 731-696-2104.

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