Wednesday, June 4, 2003

Suspect caught in Ind. after series of escapes

By Jim Hannah
The Cincinnati Enquirer

A Northern Kentucky man who allegedly escaped capture by cutting through the wall of his girlfriend's apartment was captured in an Indiana campsite on Tuesday.

Union County, Ind., sheriff's deputies arrested Virgil Lee Bowling Tuesday afternoon at the Heritage Hill Campgrounds, more than 50 miles north of Cincinnati.

Bowling, 30, of Dayton, Ky., was being held Tuesday night at the Union County jail. He is wanted by Kentucky probation and parole officials for several felonies. He was also facing additional charges for eluding capture by Dayton police.

Chief Deputy Chris Laird of the Union County Sheriff's Department said the manager of the campground called deputies after spotting Bowling. Indiana State Police had left a description of Bowling with the manager Monday night.

Laird said Bowling gave deputies a false name but didn't try to escape capture.

"All (Bowling) said was that he was glad Indiana police picked him up instead of Kentucky authorities," Laird said.

Laird said Bowling was living in a camper that belonged to an acquaintance. Bowling told the deputies that he had traveled to the campground with friends several days ago and stayed behind when everyone else left.

Bowling was arrested with a box of newspaper clippings chronicling his crimes since 1997, Laird said.

Hamilton County court records show Bowling was convicted of theft and forgery in the 1990s and had a history of failing to appear in court. Bowling was once one of Cincinnati's "Most Wanted."

His criminal record in Northern Kentucky was not available Tuesday.

Bowling eluded Dayton police and a Northern Kentucky SWAT team on Thursday by fleeing through a crawl space in his girlfriend's apartment. The crawl space led to a closed-off section of the building that officers described as a maze of hallways.

The apartment building was the former home of Dayton High School, and the hallways were in the basement near where the school cafeteria was located.

Three weeks ago, Bowling eluded police by running through a Dayton supermarket, knocking over merchandise. He caused $700 in damage before escaping out a fire door.


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