02/04/09 — Neuse escapee caught in New Bern

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Neuse escapee caught in New Bern

By Nick Hiltunen
Published in News on February 4, 2009 1:46 PM

A team sent to find an escapee from Neuse Correctional Institution discovered the New Bern man hiding behind a tree in a wooded area near his home town, a prison official said today.

Johnny Dickerson, 29, who was serving his fifth prison sentence on charges of misdemeanor larceny, communicating threats, and simple assault, escaped from Neuse Correctional Institution on Saturday night.

Lawmen focused on New Bern because Dickerson was known to live there.

"We've been doing surveillance. We always send people out to where (a prisoner is from), or anywhere we think that it'll be a possibility that they'll go to," said Cynthia Thornton, Neuse Correctional Institution's assistant superintendent for programs. When the lawmen approached, Dickerson was in a wooded area just outside New Bern's city limits on N.C. 17 South, Ms. Thornton said.

"They actually found him hiding behind a tree," Ms. Thornton said. "... he surrendered without incident."

Thornton said it had been at least three years since a prisoner had escaped the minimum-security facility.