Run-in with officer results in fugitive from justice charge

By Tanya Mitchell | Feb 25, 2013
Source: Belfast Police Department Michael Eply

Belfast — A Patten man was arrested just before noon Friday, Feb. 22, after an officer who planned to advise him not to stand on a median strip discovered the man was wanted on a warrant out of Alabama.

Michael T. Eply, 36, of Patten was arrested on a fugitive from justice charge after Detective Sgt. Bryan Cunningham saw him standing on a median at Fairground Road in Belfast at 11:55 a.m. Cunningham said Eply, who was displaying a sign that read "destitute" was collecting money from a passersby when the officer stopped to tell him to move out of the median for safety reasons.

"I told him it would be best if he didn't stand in the middle of the road," said Cunningham.

The detective then asked Eply for identification, and after Eply produced it Cunningham ran a background check and discovered Eply was wanted on a warrant out of Alabama for writing bad checks.

As Eply was being detained, Cunningham said it became apparent that Eply had been arrested on out-of-state warrants before. Eply reportedly told Cunningham he could only be held in jail for 30 days and if the State of Alabama chose not to extradite him then he would have to be released from custody.

Cunningham said when he asked Eply how he knew that, Eply reportedly stated he'd previously been arrested on a warrant out of Florida and he was familiar with laws pertaining to extradition.

Eply is scheduled to appear in Fifth District Court in Belfast Tuesday, March 5.

Reporter Tanya Mitchell can be reached at 338-3333 or at tmitchell@villagesoup.com.

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