A man awaiting trial on several counts of residential burglary and theft of property escaped from the Faulkner County Detention Center Unit I early Tuesday morning.

According to Maj. Andy Shock of FCSO, 19-year-old Christopher Jordan McNeely of 1458 West Republican Road had been made a jail trustee at Unit I, which is just southwest of the Faulkner County Courthouse.

“Those are the guys that have proven themselves to be fairly well-behaved,” Shock said of jail trustees, who are tasked with cooking and cleaning and have access to areas that may be off-limits to other inmates. 

One of these areas is a courtyard that connects the courthouse to Unit I. This area is partially enclosed by a metal fence topped with razor wire. Shock said that McNeely apparently pushed a food cart against one of these areas at about 5 a.m. and slipped through the razor wire.

Faulkner County Sheriff Karl Byrd said that his absence was noticed shortly after the escape.

The public was not immediately notified of an escapee, Shock said, because FCSO officials did not consider McNeely a threat to public safety.

“He’s not dangerous; he’s not armed,” Shock said. “We would rather he had not escaped, but worse guys than him bond out every day.”

McNeely was arrested on April 16 and charged with several counts of burglary and theft of property. According to a Conway Police Department incident report, a man police believe was McNeely was confronted early on the morning of April 16 by a Sea Breeze Drive homeowner who found the man standing in his hallway. This man fled when confronted. Jewelry, a children’s book, a $3 hair brush and some bubble gum was listed as stolen from the home in the report. McNeely was also arrested in September 2008 on suspicion of breaking into multiple vehicles at the ChapelRidge apartments in Conway. 

Deputy prosecutor Charles Finkenbinder said Tuesday that McNeely has not been convicted of or charged with violent crime, but “very frequently when he breaks into people’s houses, the residents are home.”

“Christopher McNeely is a pretty active burglar,” Finkenbinder said. “He was convicted on multiple counts of residential burglary last year and was placed on probation and was immediately arrested for going right back to what he was doing before.

“This is the guy who when Conway police caught him on this second round of charges and put him in an interview room, he turned the lights off and tried to push the panel up in the ceiling — I guess trying to get up in there and escape,” Finkenbinder added.

The prosecutor’s office filed an additional escape charge for McNeely on Tuesday afternoon.

Anyone with information as to the whereabouts of this fugitive is urged to contact FCSO at 450-4914.

(Staff writer Joe Lamb can be reached at 505-1238 or by E-mail at joe.lamb@thecabin.net. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit.)