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Thursday, December 18, 2014
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Published: Thursday, 7/17/2014 - Updated: 5 months ago

Work release escapee was fired from his job

Prisoner charged with 2 robbery counts

BY TAYLOR DUNGJEN
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Swert Swert
HANDOUT. NOT BLADE PHOTO. Enlarge

On Monday, Thomas Swert, Jr., was fired from his roofing job.

On Tuesday, at 7:16 a.m., he signed out from the Lucas County Department of Work Release, a minimum-security detention facility, as if he were headed to work, said Don Colby, Lucas County Common Pleas Court administrator. What Swert did throughout the day is not known, but police assert that, between 4:35 and 4:45 p.m, Swert, 34, tried and failed to rob two South Toledo businesses.

Swert, whose address is listed as Work Release, 1111 Madison Ave., is charged in Toledo Municipal Court with two counts of robbery.

Police allege that Swert went into Fifth Third Bank, 3428 Glendale Ave., at 4:37 p.m., and passed a note to a teller. He demanded cash and the exclusion of dye packs. He warned tellers to not press any alarms. Employees turned the suspect away, and he fled.

At 4:45 p.m., police allege that Swert went into Rite Aid, 2430 Glendale, which is about a mile from the bank, and asked for cigarettes. He then put his right hand under his shirt and made a fist, acting as if he had a gun, and demanded cash. The employee swore at the suspect and told him to get out of the store. As the man ran across Glendale, he was reportedly nearly hit by a car, a report states.

Hours later, police released bank surveillance images to the media asking for help in identifying the suspect. According to affidavits filed in Toledo Municipal Court, Swert’s family and an officer from the department of work release identified the suspect.

In December, Swert was found guilty of breaking and entering and sentenced to six months in the Correctional Treatment Facility. After his stint at CTF, he was to serve another four months of work release, where he first reported on June 16. It took Swert a couple of weeks to find a job, Mr. Colby said, but on July 1 he started work with a roofing company.

On Monday, Swert was fired for “always leaving the job site,” Mr. Colby said. The roofing company did not report the termination, so there would have been no reason to question Swert when he left Tuesday morning.

When Swert didn’t return to the work release facility at 6:30 p.m. as anticipated, officials called the company and learned he’d been fired the previous day. At 8:20 p.m., work release authorities considered Swert “AWOL,” Mr. Colby said.

As of Wednesday evening, Swert was not in custody, police said. Police ask that anyone with information on his whereabouts call Crime Stoppers at 419-255-1111.

Contact Taylor Dungjen at tdungjen@theblade.com, or 419-724-6054, or on Twitter @taylordungjen.



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