HOLLYWOOD, Fla. - Two men escaped from a prison in Wisconsin and headed out on a cross-country crime spree, which ended in their arrest here in South Florida, police said.
James Mislevick, 19, and James Newman, 29, had both been recently transferred to the Black River Correctional Facility in Wisconsin, a minimum-security prison without walls or fences.
Newman was serving time for a 2009 conviction on six felony counts of discharging a firearm, while Misleveck was serving time for 2011 charges of arson, burglary and a stolen vehicle.
The men escaped on July 17, and a be on the lookout request went out from Wisconsin police, warning they were armed and dangerous.
While on the run, the men racked up more charges as they embarked on a crime spree, according to police.
"They also committed kidnapping, carjackings and robberies in Wisconsin from the time they escaped on July 17 until we apprehended them this morning," said Lt. David Carry, of the Seminole Police Department.
The men seemed to have an interest in casinos because police said the kidnapping took place in Black River Falls, Wis., where the men carjacked, robbed and held a casino worker against her will for five hours before dumping her with her car and stealing another getaway vehicle.
By the time the two made it to South Florida, they were spied by Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino security guards casing the cars in the South Garage parking lot. Security officers called in the Seminole Police Department when they noticed the duo looking suspicious and then clued in on the fact that they were driving a dark-colored car with Wisconsin tags.
The men gave chase, followed by police, and they bailed out at North 68th Avenue and Meade Street in Hollywood, right at Christopher William's home, according to police.
Williams showed Local 10's Jacey Birch the footprint in the dirt near his backyard fence.
"This is his footprint. He hit it and jumped. My mother-in-law's bedroom is right there, scared the hell out of her," Williams said.
The wild wakeup call at 3:30 a.m. Wednesday continued when snipers swarmed his house, Broward Sheriff's Office choppers flew overhead with spotlights and Hollywood police joined the search for the escaped convicts.
"That's sort of scary. I have two small kids and a 6-month-old daughter and my mother-in-law. It wasn't fun this morning," said Williams.
Police were looking for the men when Williams turned on his backyard lights, which shined right on Misleveck, who was hidden, according to investigators.
"Something told me to turn on my spotlight, and I turned it on, and when I turned it on, you heard, 'Don't move! Don't move,' and he was hiding down on the ground behind my shed house," said Williams.
But, it didn't end there. After police caught the first suspect, the second was still missing, but BSO choppers spotted him 40 feet up in a tree just a block away. Newman was actually taken down by a Hollywood Police Department K-9, who bit his right ankle during the arrest. He was treated at Hollywood Memorial Hospital and later booked at the Broward County Jail after Misleveck had already been arrested.
Now, the two men are facing a slew of charges, worse than the original charges that put them in prison to begin with. Newman is charged with grand theft, resisting arrest, fleeing and eluding, loitering and prowling, along with a warrant for arrest from the prison escape. Misleveck is charged with loitering and prowling, along with a warrant for arrest stemming from the prison escape.
Seminole police do not believe the pair committed any other crimes in the state of Florida.
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