Crime & Courts

Tag check leads to stolen truck, escaped Cowley inmate in Wichita

Joshua Blackwill escaped from the Cowley County Jail on Sunday, but was later located in Wichita.
Joshua Blackwill escaped from the Cowley County Jail on Sunday, but was later located in Wichita. Courtesy photo

A Wichita police officer checking out vehicles in a south Wichita neighborhood discovered a stolen truck that eventually led to the capture of an escaped inmate Sunday night.

Joshua B. Blackwill, 30, was found by Wichita police in the 400 block of North Kansas at about 10:45 p.m. Sunday, according to a release from Cowley County Sheriff David Falletti.

Wichita police Sgt. Nikki Woodrow said Monday that a local patrol officer probably checking license plates in the area discovered a Ford F-350 parked at the intersection of Third and Hydraulic that had been reported stolen out of Cowley County.

When Wichita police called Cowley County authorities to ask about the truck, they learned Blackwill was thought to be at a nearby address on Kansas Street.

Officers went to the home, talked to the person who lived there and asked to search inside. Police found Blackwill there, and he was arrested without any trouble, Woodrow said.

Blackwill, who is from the Wichita area, had escaped from the Cowley County Jail shortly before 2 p.m. on Sunday, according to Falletti’s release. He was turned over to Cowley County deputies and taken back to jail after his capture, Woodrow said.

Originally he was in jail on suspicion of theft and burglary. Now he’s facing an additional charge of aggravated escape from custody, Falletti said.

Woodrow said it’s common for officers to run the plates of vehicles parked in neighborhoods they patrol to check whether they belong there.

“This is really good work done by a Wichita police officer,” Woodrow said. The officer “was just driving in the area ... being proactive and ran the tag and discovered that it was stolen.”

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