Local News

Prisoners Still At Large After Escape and Assault

Posted December 12, 1996 12:00 a.m. EST

— Authorities are beginning to worry that the trail of two escapees who assaulted a Lillington preacher after walking away from a work detail at a state prison in Harnett County may be growing cold. Authorities say if escapees are not found within 24 hours, hopes of finding them begin to fade.

Here's how authorities say Thursday's escape unfolded:

The two inmates walked away from a work detail outside the fence of the state prison in Harnett County. Tthe two escapees went to radio station WLLN-AM in Lillington, which is owned by Foundations Bible College. There, they tied up the Rev. Anthony Brock. Police said Brock was playing records when two men wearing prison uniforms walked into the station. They ripped the phones out of the wall and forced Brock to lie on his stomach, said Mark Wilson, the station's chief engineer.

Wilson said Brock told him that the men threatened to kill him but decided to spare his life when they saw pictures of his children. Instead, they broke his arm with a crowbar, Wilson said.

Brock was listed in stable condition Friday at Betsy Johnson Memorial Hospital in Dunn.

The radio station was off the air for about four hours while police combed the building for clues. Brock's car was recovered on a Fayetteville street. Fayetteville police searched a neighborhood near downtown for several hours, but could not locate the inmates.

The inmates were then picked up by an unidentified guard at the Harnett prison who was on her way to work and recognized the two men. When they realized that she planned on returning them to the prison, they forced her to pull over and ran into some woods near Ramsey Street. The guard was not injured.

Pinchbeck was serving a 10-year sentence for assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury and breaking and entering. His scheduled release date was March 1999.

Bass, 27, was serving a 14-year sentence for breaking and entering charges. He was jailed in April 1991 and was scheduled for release in July 1998.

Brock's car was recovered near Long Hill Elementary School in Fayetteville.

Their getaway car may have failed them. The front tire was shredded to pieces, possibly from a blowout.

After the car was found near Long Hill Elementary, the school was locked down, and staff kept a watchful eye on the grounds.

Drivers were told to check their buses, making sure there would be no surprises once the children boarded. Students were dismissed one class at a time, another precaution to make sure they got home safely.

Authorities say the escapees appear to be headed south, perhaps toward Lumberton and Hope Mills, where the inmates have some relatives.