The name Harry Houdini is synonymous with escaping. It seemed as if no lock could defeat him, no jail cell could hold him, and no one could restrain him. When the great escape artist met his end after an act involving a hit in the stomach led to his appendix rupturing while doing an underwater stunt, the world felt that there would never be another. Perhaps the name Philip Andrew Marshall of Shelbyville doesn’t have the same ring to it as “Houdini,” but authorities in Tennessee would be willing to suggest the idea of his replacement if he could stay out of trouble with law long enough to perform. According to the Lexington Herald-Leader, Marshall has escaped custody no less than six “very frustrating” times!
The first time that he made the break, it was for evading arrest, which only adds to the ironic nature of this story. The Bedford County Sheriff’s Office has had to admit that they have a terrible time trying to keep this man behind bars.
While always to be cuffed when not in his cell, Marshall was left “unshackled during a shower,” and was able to locate a door that was not locked at it should have been, either, WSMN News reports. That was the last that they saw of Marshall.
“It’s very frustrating, and it’s frustrating sometimes that employees don’t do what they’re supposed to do,” admitted Sheriff Austin Swing during the man’s then fifth escape.
One of the problems is that there are only supposed to be 100 to 105 people housed in the jail. As of last October, that number blossomed to almost 200. When one as sneaky as Marshall is included in that count, the chances of keeping him properly caged in is not very high.
Also, there are numbers of 50-1 in favor of the inmates, so hiring and keeping guards seems to be yet another problem that is being experienced. “Right now, we are still terribly short-handed,” confessed Bedford County Jail administrator Tim Lokey. “We’re just treading water.”
This fact certainly won’t make the people of Tennessee feel more secure, that is for certain.
The lawman added, “It’s just human error. You don’t leave a door open in the jail or a door unlocked in the jail.” Unfortunately for them, they seem to quite often at this particular jail.
WKRN News writes that Marshall and two others prisoners used the attic of the jail to tie bedsheets together and get away only last October. In September, he also got away while part of the jail “workhouse,” an area that he was moved to during repairs at the institution.
Marshall, who seems to be better at escaping than not being recaptured once he does, was only on the lam for a day, but it was 24-hours of worry for those nearby. “I checked all the windows and doors this morning,” stated Jessica Moore. Her home is on the street that the fugitive ran down in January.
“When I heard a knock on the door, I wondered if I should answer it because it scares me that he’s running loose again,” she also said.
Oddly enough, two officers chased the escaping man, but he got away anyhow. This begs the question; does T.N. have no helicopters or dogs at their disposal?
“I think it’s crazy that they haven’t done more, especially with the ones who continue to break out,” Moore declared.
As expected, Facebook and social media have taken notice of Mr. Marshall. One user wrote, “Too bad the Winter Olympics does not have a hide and seek event. This guy would be a national hero.”
Swing is not ready to throw in the towel, however. He chooses to look at this mishap as a chance for improvement. “We will have to deal with our employees and hopefully get them on track so we don’t make these mistakes again,” he said.
It remains to be seen if Marshall will be able to both hide and stay out of trouble with the law this time. If not, then he is going to have to maybe rethink his options because there most likely won’t be a seventh escape.