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Prolific burglar charged with breaking out of Hennepin County jail

December 19, 2018 GMT

A prolific burglar has been charged with breaking out of the Hennepin County jail late last month and being on the lam for several hours before he was caught 12 miles away.

Michael Frank Simon was charged Tuesday with a single count of escape from custody. It wasnt immediately clear whether his initial court appearance has been set.

Authorities say that a witness saw Simon break a window on the seventh floor of the jail, climb out onto a lower-level rooftop, then run across the top of a skyway to a parking ramp, before disappearing.

Officers searched the ramp and surrounding areas but failed to find Simon, who was wearing an orange jail jumpsuit and blue jacket.

Simon, 57, of Hopkins, made his way to the St. Paul suburb of Little Canada, where federal authorities arrested him during a traffic stop three hours later.

Authorities have so far been mum on the details of his escape or how they managed to track him down.

Simon has had numerous burglary-related run-ins with the law, the most recent of which had landed him in the facility, court records show. In that case, Simon was arrested in September and later charged with credit fraud and burglary, after police say he stole a credit card from a chiropractic clinic in Edina and later used it to buy gas for others in exchange for cash.

A spokesman for the Sheriffs Office, which operates the jail, said it was the first escape at the facility since the building opened in 2001.

Libor Jany 612-673-4064 Twitter:@StribJany