In the fall of 1991 I received a call from this girl who was working in Washington D.C. on the network television program called "America's Most Wanted."
As the Public Information Officer for the Franklin County Sheriff's office I was responsible for handling all things media related and we were holding someone in our jail that the show's host John Walsh was interested in.
Her name is Allyson Camerota and she was one of the show's producers. After concluding the business she was interested in she asked if our department had anyone on the run that John and his people might find interesting.
Her timing couldn't have been better for not only us, but for the people of Franklin County and for that matter, everywhere. We had an inmate who had escaped from custody while being taken to Doctor's North Hospital for treatment of a self inflicted slash on his wrist. His name was Timothy Brewster and with the aid of his son, Tim Junior who ambushed the deputies as they arrived outside the hospital ER, Tim Sr. was off and running.
He was a man with a lengthy record of violent crimes and was in our facility on charges of rape and kidnapping and now he was on the loose and had in his possession at least one firearm that he had stolen from one of the officers. At the moment of escape his son emerged from some bushes where he had been hiding and drew a weapon on the officer's and forced them to the ground threatening to kill them both if they didn't comply with his demands.
Luckily, and because of some very good police work the younger Brewster was apprehended the following day but his father was still out there. As I shared the details of this to Allyson she assured me that Walsh and the others would most certainly be interested and that arrangements would be made to send film crews and actors to Columbus within a few days where they could shoot reenactments of not only the escape but of Brewster's criminal past.
All of this required a lot of assistance on the part of our office also. We had to provide sheriff's vehicles, uniforms for the actors, deputies to appear in the segment as extras, carte' blanch to our jail facilities, cooperation from four other law enforcement agencies including the assistance of the Columbus Police helicopter unit, the state of Ohio department of Corrections and the Franklin Township police Department.
We also had to secure an abandoned home in a ghetto neighborhood for a scene that would resemble some place Brewster would have lived, and find a convenience store who would allow us to interrupt their business for several hours to reenact an armed robbery that Brewster had been convicted of.
In total more than one hundred people converged over three days to shoot a ten minute scene for the show. For my own labors I was flown by the FOX Television Network to Washington to appear on the program. Wasting not a minute of that... weekend of work meets pleasure, I teamed up with an FBI agent assigned to the D.C. bureau and went on a whirlwind historic adventure.
Landing in such venues as the White House, The Smithsonian and of course a grand tour of the FBI's main headquarters. I also feasted very well on someone else's dime in some high end eateries, stayed in a remarkable hotel on the border of Chevy Chase Maryland and the nation's capital and even spent a few hours clubbing with a few hired hands from the show following the airing of our segment. All in all it was truly a highlight of my days as a deputy sheriff.
Timothy Brewster was recaptured while hiding out in a trailer park in West Virginia shortly after being shown to the world on network television, and to my knowledge he is still in prison, while Tim Junior spent eight years there for his role in the matter.
I recently posed the question on my facebook page asking friends to name the most interesting job they ever had. This was one of mine.
Click on the photo above to enlarge it.