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Escaped Convict Caught on Film

May 19, 2001

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CHICAGO (AP) _ A convict who once said he was on a mission from God to kill abortion providers was allegedly caught on film robbing a Pennsylvania bank, three months after escaping from jail in Illinois, authorities said Friday.

U.S. Marshals said that a surveillance tape shows Clayton Lee Waagner of Kennerdell, Pa., robbing a bank in Lower Paxton Township, Pa., just outside Harrisburg.

Waagner used a handgun in the alleged robbery ``so we certainly consider him a threat to the public,″ said U.S. Marshal Robert Moore, of the agency’s Springfield office.

Waagner has been the subject of a massive manhunt since February, when he escaped from the DeWitt County Jail through a hole in the roof. He was awaiting sentencing on federal weapons and vehicle theft convictions.

``This is the hottest trail we’ve had on Waagner since the investigation began,″ Moore said. ``We had a general idea he was in the Virginia or Pennsylvania area but he’s been eluding us.″

Waagner allegedly walked into the bank without a mask and demanded money from a teller, Detective Sgt. Dick Toth of the Lower Paxton Township Police Department said. He left with several thousand dollars, Toth said.

A mid-1970s Volvo station wagon with Texas license plates was waiting in the parking lot of the shopping mall where the bank is located, Toth said. The driver appeared to be working under the car’s hood until Waagner left the bank, then closed the hood and sped away, he said.

The car was apparently filled with Waagner’s belongings. ``A lot of people took notice of this car that was loaded to the gills,″ Toth said.

A Harrisburg police officer who saw surveillance footage of the robbery on TV news broadcasts recognized the robber as Waagner, whom he had seen on an episode of America’s Most Wanted, authorities said.

Waagner was arrested Sept. 12, 1999, in Illinois with his wife and eight children in a stolen Winnebago with four stolen handguns under the driver’s seat. During his two-day trial, Waagner used an insanity defense, saying he was getting messages from God to kill abortion providers.

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