WATERPROOF, La. — Tensas Parish Sheriff Rickey Jones says he isn’t sure how an escaped inmate stole and drove an unmarked police car 1,800 miles across the country, but he says it won’t happen again.

Forty-three-year-old Benjamin Gottke was a trustee in the Tensas Sheriff’s Office kitchen.

Last week, he acquired keys to an unmarked police car.

He was arrested in Maine on Saturday after he fled authorities while attempting to enter Canada.

He had been serving time for simple burglary and had about nine months left on his sentence.

Now, Gottke faces charges in Maine including resisting arrest, and charges in Louisiana of simple escape and vehicle theft.

Jones told The Natchez Democrat that the escape is going to make him “rethink” the way the trustee program works.

Jones said Gottke was a “class A trustee,” which allowed him to go back and forth between the Tensas Parish Detention Center and the jail – often working in the kitchen or washing cars.

Jones said it’s likely that Gottke got the key to the police car from a storage shed at the jail, where keys to certain vehicles are kept.

“This situation is going to make me rethink a lot of things with our trustee program and where we keep certain things,” Jones said.

At a border crossing point in Maine, Gottke allegedly fled authorities who asked for identification.

Houlton Police Department Lt. Dan Pelletier said police reached out to local media with a photo of Gottke.

Several calls from the public led police to Gottke.

“Our officer had to deploy his Taser twice before arresting the suspect,” Pelletier said.

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