Washington Inmate Attempts Escape With Bed Sheet Rope, Staffers Intervene Before He Got Away

An inmate in a Spokane, Washington, jail attempted to escape Thursday, at approximately 4:30 a.m., by lowering a rope made of bed sheets out of his cell window. Staffers at the jail noticed the attempted escape and reacted quickly to stop the inmate from leaving the building.

The bed sheet rope was close to reaching the ground, by about one floor, when it was noticed. Staffers rushed to the cell and stopped the attempted escape before it could go too far.

According to Yahoo News, the cell belonged to James Henrikson, a felon from North Dakota. He was convicted of fraud and murder-for-hire in an attempt to dispose of a business associate and a former employee. It was stated that his business partner owed him nearly $2 million.

Henrikson’s escape route would have taken him through a window that was four feet high and only five inches wide.

The event was witnessed by Ken Coburn, who works at the nearby YMCA. He could not believe what he was seeing, according to the Spokesman-Review.

“We looked across to the jail and there were a whole bunch of sheets tied together dangling down from the building. That’s like the oldest trick in the book, next to putting a file in the cake.”

Officials at the jail stated that all inmates receive clean sheets weekly, but there is no accountability on the dirty laundry. Therefore, Henrikson could have been saving the old sheets for weeks. Two other men were in the same cell — both cooperated with the staff.

Henrikson is no stranger to an attempted escape. In February, inmates reported that he planned to attack guards, along with others, with gasoline, guns, and grenades. However, the threats have been ruled unusable in any trials regarding this escape, since they were never actually carried out.

Henrikson was removed from his cell and placed in another for supervision. He is expected to be monitored closely to guard from further escape attempts. The jail staff states that there are no known successful escape attempts from the jail, and no other attempts in the same fashion.

Henrikson’s cellmates were not charged with assisting, although it is believed they would have assisted in steadying the bed sheet rope for him. Their cooperation was enough to keep them in the clear.

Officials state that they will work more diligently to keep tags on the dirty laundry, in an effort to prevent further bed sheet ropes from being created.

[Photo by Scott Olson / Getty Images News]