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A long journey in crime: 2 Wisconsin prison escapees caught by Broward police agencies

A long journey from Wisconsin to Hollywood ended with two men back in a familiar place: jail.

On July 17, the pair escaped from a minimum security lockup in Black River Falls, Wis., and began a crime spree that included a robbery, several car thefts and a kidnapping.

They headed south in a stolen car and stopped 1,600 miles later.

Their journey came to an end early Wednesday morning when the pair raised the suspicion of a security guard at the Seminole Hard Rock Casino near Hollywood.

The guard “had no idea who they were at that point,” said Lt. David Carry, reservation commander with Seminole police.

The guard called Seminole police, who gave chase into Hollywood, finally stopping the car at 68th Avenue and Custer Street.

Arrested were James Newman, 29, and James Misleveck, 18. They were both nearly finished with their Wisconsin sentences.

Dave Andraska, the superintendent the Black River Correction Facility, said the pair — who apparently met in the lockup — walked out of the boot camp-like program at 11 p.m. July 17.

Andraska said the men should have been sleeping at that time.

“We had no idea where they were going,” said Andraska, who said the county put out a nationwide lookout notice.

Then the crime spree began, said Jackson County Sheriff Sgt. Pat LaBarbera

When the men escaped, they broke into a car and stole a shotgun.

The men later went to Ho-Chunk Casino in Wisconsin and forced a casino worker into her car at gunpoint and drove to a nearby county, authorities said. They held the woman for several hours before dropping her off. Police say they stole several other cars in the process.

LaBarbera said they last saw the men run into a corn field and wooded area.

“We figured they had left the state,” he said. “But Florida. That’s a long ride.”

In a stolen Chrysler Concord, the pair ended up in the south garage at the Hard Rock Casino early Wednesday morning. The security guard thought they were casing cars.

After the chase into Hollywood, Seminole police said Misleveck was immediately taken into custody, at about 3:30 a.m. Wednesday. Newman climbed a tree. A Broward sheriff’s helicopter search light forced him back to the ground, where he was bitten on the right ankle by a police dog and taken into custody.

On Wednesday, Newman, recovering from the dog bite, dodged questions from reporters as he was ushered into a police car for the ride to the Broward County Jail. He was in a hospital gown and his right ankle was bandaged and he had several scrapes and bruises.

Misleveck, who was serving time for stealing a car, arson and burglary, had 30 days left on his sentence, LaBarbera said. Newman, who was serving time for weapons violations, had six months to go. They had just been transferred to a minimum-security facility in Wisconsin.

Whether the men committed any crimes along the route is unknown.

So far, Misleveck faces charges of loitering and prowling and a warrant; Newman faces resisting without violence, loitering and prowling, fleeing and an active warrant.

LaBarbera said both men will likely face several felony charges in Wisconsin.

“These guys had such short sentences left and to pull something like this,” he said. “You have to wonder.”