US Marshals say a 27-year-old jail escapee from Coosa County, Ala., kidnapped a man from his home Monday night and forced him to drive to metro Atlanta before releasing him. The feds say he's on the run, armed and dangerous.
Shane Vernon was in jail in Alabama on burglary and auto theft charges. He escaped jail on Sunday afternoon, and law enforcement officers say he's on a violent crime spree that has spread to metro Atlanta.
Coosa County Sheriff Terry Wilson says Vernon got out of the jail through a door that a deputy left unsecured. That deputy is now under investigation. It's the second time in less than a month that Vernon has been able to get out of jail.
"We know he has a pistol," Wilson said. "And that's one too many."
Investigators say that since Sunday afternoon, Vernon has burglarized at least three homes, tied up people, stolen at least one gun and at least three vehicles.
They say that by Monday evening, Vernon had made his way from Coosa County to the Montgomery area, where he carjacked a man at random -- and at gunpoint, forced him to drive to the Douglasville area, where he ran away leaving the victim and his car.
That 62-year-old victim was able to drive to a Douglasville police station for help.
The victim's okay, he's in good spirits, he's not harmed," said Elmore County, Ala., Sheriff Bill Franklin. "I'm sure he's traumatized."
Franklin says he does know why Vernon forced the victim to drive to metro Atlanta, but he is relieved the victim is okay.
"There but for the grace of God," Franklin said. "He could be dead."
Vernon has several tattoos: On his right fist, "Ride or die." On the right side of his neck, a Chinese symbol. On his left shoulder, the word "County." And there is writing on his right forearm. Investigators could only say that it is writing, not a drawing.
"Anybody that takes somebody against their will, is using a firearm in the same instance," Franklin said. "Absolutely, he poses a threat."
The US Marshal's Southeast Regional Fugitive Task Force says Shane Vernon may still be in the metro Atlanta area -- and anyone who sees him should call 911. He is definitely considered to be armed and dangerous.
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