Oklahoma Escapee Charged In Benton County, Arkansas

Thursday, September 28th 2006, 3:58 pm
By: News On 6

BENTONVILLE, Ark. (AP) _ Prosecutors this week filed felony charges against an Oklahoma man accused of escaping from a prison and kidnapping and robbing an Arkansas couple before being captured in Wisconsin.

Truman Gross, 24, was charged Tuesday with aggravated robbery and kidnapping and faces an Oct. 9 hearing before Circuit Judge David Clinger. Gross has been held at the Benton County jail in lieu of $150,000 bond since being returned the county Sept. 1.

An alleged accomplice, Benjamin Beck, 32, is not in the Benton County jail.

According to prosecutors, the two were being held in a low-security prison south of Oklahoma City until escaping July 3. Because Gross has family in northwestern Arkansas, local officials were asked to watch for the pair.

On July 6, police said, the pair robbed Brian and Kristina Late of Bella Vista, taking cash, a digital camera, credit cards and a car that was found later in the garage of a southeastern Minnesota couple who also was robbed. After the Minnesota victims contacted police, officers chased the two into Wisconsin, where they were arrested early July 10, officers said.

According to Benton County investigator Greg Hines, the two used the digital camera taken from the Lates to document their cross-country trip in the Lates' car.

The two men had been held at the Lexington, Okla., Correctional Center. Beck was serving 12 years on a drug dealing conviction, and Gross was serving seven years for second-degree burglary.