Authorities are looking for a suspected bank robber with a criminal record who was mistakenly released from the Spokane County Jail.
The “Get Out of Jail Free” card handed John B. Obney, 54, was blamed Tuesday on a paperwork snafu.
Obney was released at 6:45 p.m. Friday because jail officials misplaced papers placing a U.S. marshal’s hold on Obney. That should have kept the inmate behind bars, according to sheriff’s spokesman Dave Reagan.
But the documents never made it to the prisoner’s booking file, Reagan said.
As a result, the jail’s release staff believed they had no choice but to set the alleged robber free. Under state law, suspects must be released if formal charges aren’t filed in 72 hours.
“The releasing staff would have no way of knowing the hold had been requested,” a jail official said.
Obney was arrested April 9 on suspicion of armed robbery following a holdup the same day at the U.S. Bank at 902 W. Garland.
Witnesses gave officers a description of Obney’s car and license plate number, and the vehicle was found in the parking garage at NorthTown Mall. Obney was arrested when he returned to the car.
Obney is described as white with green eyes and closely cropped brown hair. He is 5-feet-10-inches tall and weighs 210 pounds. He was wearing jeans, a blue, cotton shirt and glasses when he was released from jail.
Obney has no listed local address, Reagan said.
The FBI said Obney has a criminal record in California for robbery and kidnapping, and has lived in Ohio and Indiana in the past.
Anyone with any information about Obney’s whereabouts is asked to call Crime Check at 456-2233.
Local journalism is essential.
Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.
Subscribe to the Coronavirus newsletter
Get the day’s latest Coronavirus news delivered to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.