A private security firm employee taking two inmates to Texas checked into a hotel here Sunday night, fell asleep, and woke up less than an hour later to find one of the inmates and $5,200 in his own cash gone, police said.
East St. Louis police are searching for the inmate, Brian Jordan, 33. He was not considered to be armed and dangerous, but police broadcast a description of him to surrounding cities.
A private security firm driver was transporting Jordan from Oklahoma City, where he had been caught in a stolen vehicle, to a city in Texas where he had violated parole for methamphetamine possession, East St. Louis Police Chief Jerry Simon said. Though East St. Louis is hundreds of miles from either place, an official with Guard Force International said the guard was supposed to be in the area to meet up with another team.
Guard Force International, founded in 2006 and based in Austin, Texas, is composed of former military and police personnel, according to its website.
CEO Gordon Brooks told a St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter Wednesday morning that he has fired the guard “for not following protocol.”
Brooks said he doesn’t know if the guard had been gambling at the casino. He said the guard and inmates were supposed to be in the St. Louis area after dropping off another inmate in northwest Missouri. They were supposed to meet up with another team in the St. Louis area.
“That was fine, they were going where they were supposed to be,” Brooks said. “But he made an unauthorized stop and everything transpired from there. We don’t go into public places. Common sense, you know.”
The three men checked into the Casino Queen hotel about 10 p.m. Sunday. The driver, identified as Lamont Henderson, told police he had fallen asleep for about 40 minutes and woke up to find Jordan gone. Surveillance cameras caught Jordan walking out to the security firm’s van in the hotel parking lot shortly after 1:30 a.m. Monday, removing a cellphone and clothing, and then walking west toward the Eads Bridge, Simon said.
Henderson didn’t call police until about five hours after he realized Jordan was gone, telling detectives he was out looking for Jordan himself during that time.
Simon had no information on the second man who was being transported by the guard.
Police were unaware of the three until the security guard called police about 6:40 a.m. Monday, Simon said. East St. Louis police immediately alerted surrounding cities and broadcast Jordan’s description.
Henderson told police Jordan vanished along with $5,200 cash the guard had in a satchel. It was unknown why Henderson had the cash.
The other man being transported told police he was asleep and learned of Jordan’s disappearance when Henderson woke him up, Simon said.
It was unclear whether the inmates were handcuffed when they arrived at the hotel, Simon said. He said police had not yet obtained security footage of their arrival.
(Kim Bell of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch staff contributed to this report.)
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