PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — Authorities are still searching for a state inmate who escaped from the Franklin County Correctional Institute.
37-year-old Robert Rutherford was last seen between 8th Street and Avenue I Tuesday night, according to Sheriff A.J. Smith. Deputies searched the area and said Rutherford broke into a vacant home where he ate, drank, and changed clothes.
Rutherford may be wearing a camouflage jacket and a backpack, Smith added.
Rutherford stole a couple of bikes, however, the bikes have since been recovered. Smith added that investigators believe they got close to Rutherford several times but were unable to locate him.
“Be vigilant, especially at night, as he’s lurking through the alleys”, said Smith.
Rutherford’s brother contacted the sheriff’s office and asked if he could be of help, Smith said. He also noted that Rutherford’s brother provided a family history and encouraged Rutherford to turn himself in.
Rutherford’s brother felt that’s what his father would want him to turn himself in.
A reward of up to $5,000 is now being offered to anyone who can provide information that leads to Rutherford’s arrest. Rutherford is a habitual offender, with multiple felonies, armed robbery, burglary, and domestic violence, and was serving a 20-year prison sentence.
Those with information on his whereabouts, are asked to call the sheriff’s office at 850-670-8500.