Long arm of law nabs fugitive

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 3, 2003

Suffolk News-Herald

A fugitive on the lam for nearly two weeks after his June 23 escape from North Carolina authorities was captured Wednesday in Connecticut.

Fred Carpenter Jr., 28, and girlfriend, Machelle Lee Gilbert, 29, of Newsoms, are being held by authorities in that state, said Hertford County Sheriff Juan Vaughan. No details on their arrest were available.

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The pair will be extradited to North Carolina to face charges related to the escape, Vaughan said. Suffolk will not have a role in the extradition, said Officer Michael E. Simpkins, spokesman for the Suffolk Police Department

Carpenter, an inmate housed at the Gates (N.C. ) Correctional Center, was part of an unguarded

roadside cleaning crew in Winton, N.C., when Gilbert drove by and picked him up, said police.

After a Suffolk police officer noticed the car on U.S. Route 13, near the Red Apple Restaurant, Carpenter led Suffolk authorities on a high-speed chase that ended on Sweatt Road in Whaleyville.

Although Suffolk police arrested Gilbert, Carpenter eluded police by fleeing on foot.

A former Suffolk resident, Carpenter still has family and friends who live in the Suffolk area.

Carpenter, who was considered a model prisoner, was serving the last eight months of his sentence for convictions on three counts of felony larceny in Gates County.