Mayor's office: Thwarted escape attempt a victory for St. Louis -

Mayor's office: Thwarted escape attempt a victory for St. Louis Justice Center

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By Afton Spriggs By Afton Spriggs

(KMOV) – A St. Charles County jail nurse is accused of trying to help a notorious ATM Solutions robber escape from jail.

Sherry Ann Young, 41, was charged Thursday with aiding escape of prisoner confined for felony and conspiracy escape or attempted escape from confinement.

According to court documents, 38-year-old John Wesley Jones had been serving his 32-year federal sentence for the ATM Solutions robbery and was in state custody for other pending circuit court cases.

Prosecutors said Young met Jones while he was serving time at the St. Charles County jail for the April 2010 kidnapping of a woman and her two daughters. Jones pleaded guilty to forcing them to steal $30,000 from a St. Louis Currency Exchange store.

Jones was sentenced to 20 years in prison for the incident and brought to the downtown Justice Center, where awaited trial for the robbery.

According to court documents, an investigation determined Young visited Jones multiple times after he was brought to St. Louis in July. She also called him both while he was at the Justice Center and while in federal prison in Kentucky.

During their phone calls, it was learned the two had discussed an escape plan and that Young talked about smuggling items into the Justice Center.

She also admitted to purchasing a .40 caliber handgun for Jones in September. In August, she also bought a handcuff key that matched the one in Jones’ cell. Records indicate she visited Jones in jail several times after purchasing the key.

Police said on Sept. 27, authorities found the metal toilet and sink had been removed from the wall of Jones’ cell, which gave him access to the pipe chase area behind the cells. A bag filled with sheets and clothing was also found and insulation had been taken off one of the jail’s exterior windows.

On Oct. 1, Jones was found with a handcuff key believed to be the same one purchased by Young.

City officials did not comment on how how the key made its way into the jail but say it showed that the system worked.

"This is, for all the unsettlling aspects of this story, a success story," said Eddie Roth with St. Louis Mayor's Office.

Roth added that the situation would have been worse had it not been for the quick work of the staff at the St. Louis Justice Center. After a sereis of escapes in 2011, many officials criticized the city jail system, especially the problem of short staffing.

There were no escapes in all of 2012.

St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson, one of the center's most vocal critics in 2011, stopped short of praising the prevented attempt, opting only to say it's how the system should work.

It was not known if Young was still employed at the St. Charles County jail.

Jones was sentenced to 22 years in prison for the robbery in St. Charles County.

In November 2010, Jones and another man escaped from the Lincoln County Jail. He was later arrested in Swansea, Ill.

The incident came just months after his arrest in the August 2010 ATM Solutions robbery, in which more than $600,000 was discovered to be in his posession.

It was not known if more charges were going to be filed against Jones in the Justice Center escape attempt.


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