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December 11, 2012

Ottumwa fugitive back in custody

Car with open window, getaway driver and a change of clothes planted outside courthouse

OSKALOOSA — An escaped prisoner and his accomplice are in custody following an intense search by police.

Wapello County Sheriff Mark Miller said Tuesday that he and other law enforcement arrested Curtis Bunnell, 38, at a home in Oskaloosa. Also arrested was his wife, Latisha Bunnell, 27, who authorities allege helped Curtis escape from the Wapello County Courthouse Monday. She is charged with aiding and abetting escape, a Class D felony. Curtis has been charged with escape, also a Class D felony. He’s already facing felony charges in other counties.

Both are being held at the Wapello County Jail.

That’s where Curtis was being held after he’d been arrested following a different manhunt last month.

Curtis allegedly got the attention of an Ottumwa landlord by expressing “interest” in renting. An investigator with the Ottumwa police said that was a trick so Curtis Bunnell could rob the man.

At the rental unit, he allegedly pulled out a gun, pointed it at the landlord and demanded money.

The landlord gave the man around $900 from his pocket, as well as a fake $1 million bill.

Police found the alleged robber, captured him and put him in jail on $25,000 bail. Unlike some bails, the suspect couldn’t just pay a portion of the bond and leave — he’d need $25,000 in cash in order to leave jail. That’s why he was in court Monday — last week, the public defender assigned to Bunnell’s case made a “motion for bond reduction.”  

Miller said Bunnell was led up to the courtroom in restraints by a correctional officer. There were a total of three prisoners in court at that time.  

Bunnell had his motion for bond reduction denied by the judge just after 10 a.m. The correctional officer escorted the cuffed prisoners back to the vehicle out front at around 10:45 a.m.

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The Iowegian wants readers to think about the solicitation ordinance that will prevent groups or individuals from entering a roadway to solicit money. The Centerville City Council in June by a 5-0 vote passed the first reading of just such an ordinance. Public pressure and during a subsequent special meeting, the council voted 3-2 to table the ordinance. A second special meeting to discuss the solicitation ordinance is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 7 at City Hall. So, the question of the week is, "Do you or do you not support the ordinance to prevent solicitation of funds in city streets?"

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