$1,000 reward offered after man escapes custody in Rowan Co.

by: Allison Latos Updated:

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ROWAN COUNTY, N.C. - Police are conducting a manhunt after deputies said a handcuffed suspect broke free from a magistrate's office Wednesday, scaled a building, jumped a barbed-wire fence -- and took off.

Within a matter of minutes, 21-year-old Jameel Kenneth Stephens-Maddox, who deputies just arrested, broke free from his handcuffs then climbed barbed-wire fence that surrounds the doors at the Rowan County Magistrate's Office.

The sheriff's office said Maddox tried to run from them earlier Wednesday morning when they arrested him on warrants of assault on a female and weapons charges.

Once they got Maddox in custody, deputies handcuffed him to a metal bar inside the magistrate’s office but Maddox managed to wiggle out of his handcuffs and climb this chain-linked fence to the roof, where deputies said he jumped to freedom.

As soon as officers realized Maddox was gone, an Eyewitness News crew spotted them scrambling to their cars to search and find him.

Salisbury police told Channel 9 they joined in with a K-9 unit trying to track Maddox.

A $1,000 reward is being offered to anyone who helps police capture Maddox.

“I was just sitting on the front porch and a sheriff deputy showed up next door,” neighbor Christopher Boyd said.

At the same time, Channel 9 saw several different officers examine the magistrate’s office fence to figure out how the incident happened unnoticed.

The sheriff's office wouldn't go on camera but said through email that they're reviewing the surveillance cameras.

They said the video is evidence.

The sheriff's office and county maintenance staff will meet at 8 a.m. Thursday to discuss building security.

This is not the first time a suspect has tried to escape the magistrate's office. A month ago, a prisoner jumped from the roof and was captured.

Anyone with information as to the location of Jameel Stephens-Maddox can call the Rowan County Sheriff's Office Criminal Investigative 1st. Lieutenant Chad Moose at 704-216-8687 or 911.