Search continues for missing Florida fugitives after one found in Rowan County

Search continues for missing Florida fugitives after one found in Rowan County
2007 Pacifica (Credit: Rowan County Sheriff's Office)
2007 Pacifica (Credit: Rowan County Sheriff's Office)

ROWAN COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - The search continues for two missing Florida inmates who escaped jail with a man who was found and arrested in Rowan County.

According to the Rowan County Sheriff's Office, Casey Brandon Martina, 25, was arrested in the 100 block of Austin Street in Rockwell just after 3:00 a.m. on Tuesday. He was reportedly found by deputies sleeping on a couch in a living room of a home.

When they searched Martina, they found the keys to a car in his pocket. The Rowan County Sheriff said they discovered the keys were to a 1999 black Jeep Cherokee stolen from Virginia.

The Wakulla County Sheriff's Office said that the three inmates managed to break through the ceiling of the jail's law library and then got out by going across the building's roof. This happened around 12:09 a.m. on Friday at the Wakulla County Jail.

There is no word on the whereabouts of the other two men, Joel Cooper and Donald Cotterman, and no word on why Martina was in Rowan County.

On Wednesday, deputies said they believed all three men may have been involved in the theft of a 2007 Pacifica recreational vehicle that was stolen from the Peeler Road area in Rowan County. Deputies said the vehicle was taken out of state.

The sheriff's office also said there was evidence that showed the three men were reportedly involved in several property crimes in Georgia, Virginia as well as Rowan County.

Cooper and Cotterman may be possessing stolen guns and were last known together with Martina in Statesville, deputies say. Both men were with Martina before his arrest.

Deputies believe the fugitives are possibly driving in a white commercial work truck with a Georgia tag.

The Rowan County Sheriff's Office confirmed that a truck that used in an ATM theft in Burke County Tuesday is the same truck that was stolen by the three escapees. Two men who were caught on surveillance video stealing an ATM from a Shell Station in the 8800 block of Old NC Highway 10 around 2:30 a.m. Tuesday morning.

Deputies responding to an ATM alarm found the entire machine had been stolen when they got there.

Surveillance video from the store shows two men using a logging chain to load the ATM into the back of a white four-door work truck. The logging chain was left behind at the scene, deputies say.

The men left the store heading in an unknown direction, deputies said. The fugitives may be fleeing from North Carolina in the western part of the state, according to the sheriff's office.

Cooper and Cotterman face felony larceny charges in Rowan County.

Martina is charged in Rowan County with possession of a stolen vehicle and as a fugitive from justice. Martina was being held in the Florida jail on charges of burglary, theft, vehicle theft, and criminal mischief. His bond was set to $250,000.

An anonymous tip lead to Martina's arrest.

If you have any information, you can call Crime Stoppers at 1-866-639-5245.


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