Crime & Courts

Carjacking attempt leads to arrest of second halfway house resident in weeks, police say

For the second time in a little more than two weeks, a resident of a federal halfway house in northeast Wichita is accused of leaving the facility and committing a crime.

This time, no one was injured.

Police arrested 33-year-old Randy Sturgis, of Wichita, early Wednesday after being called to an attempted carjacking at QuikTrip, 3820 N Rock Road.

Wichita Police Department officer Charley Davidson gave this account of the incident:

A man approached 18-year-old and 19-year-old women as they were getting gas around 12:55 a.m., saying he had escaped from a federal prison and wanted a ride.

They refused.

The man became agitated, “stated he had a knife and grabbed the females, attempting to place them in the vehicle,” Davidson said. The women escaped and ran inside to call 911.

Davidson said the man tried to get in the vehicle and leave but couldn’t, then took the 19-year-old’s cell phone and left on foot. Officers found Sturgis nearby and arrested him after he tried to evade them, Davidson said.

Police recovered the cellphone but did not find any weapons.

Davidson said Sturgis had escaped from Mirrors Inc. Residential Re-entry Center, 3820 N. Toben.

That’s the center police said Wade Dunn left on April 23 before he allegedly stabbed a 30-year-old Wichita woman multiple times in front of her home in the 7400 block of of East 17th Street, roughly 3.5 miles from the court-ordered halfway home.

Dunn was arrested on April 28.

Davidson said Sturgis walked away from the halfway house shortly before the QuikTrip incident. Court records show Dunn left on an itinerary pass around 9:30 a.m. the day of the stabbing and did not return by the required 5:30 p.m.

Mirrors wouldn’t answer any specifics about Dunn. After being asked for an interview, they released a statement that wished the victim a speedy recovery, commended law enforcement and talked about their program.

The woman was released last week after more than a week in the hospital.

Mirrors referred additional questions to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, which placed Dunn at the halfway house.

The federal agency also didn’t list specifics about Dunn but gave an overview of requirements for facilities to be contracted residential reentry centers.

Those include notifying law enforcement when an inmate walks away and doesn’t return.

“RRCs help inmates gradually rebuild their ties to the community and facilitate supervising ex-offenders’ activities during this readjustment phase, which typically occurs near the end of an inmate’s service of his or her sentence,” the federal agency said in an email. “RRCs are generally non-secure residential facilities in the communities with accountability procedures that do not ordinarily include exterior security barriers to movement. They are not intended to be prison or jail facilities with external security measures.”

Davidson said police have been called to the halfway house in the past but didn’t know if there was an increase in calls.

Sturgis wound up in federal custody after being arrested as a felon in possession of a firearm with the serial number removed. He later pleaded guilty to the 2016 case.

Sturgis also has prior convictions for criminal threat, theft and criminal possession of a firearm, according to records from the Kansas Department of Corrections.

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