Inmate mistakenly released, allegedly robbed bank

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – An inmate who escaped the Richmond City Jail Wednesday morning is back behind bars. Maurice Emile is accused of robbing the same bank he's charged with robbing back in April. The sheriff's office is investigating exactly how this could have happened.

Emile simply walked out of the Richmond City Jail Wednesday morning. He had been on the loose for less than two hours before authorities said he committed yet another crime.

Some people believe in second chances. After escaping jail and allegedly robbing the Suntrust bank on West Broad Street again, it seems Maurice Emile is one of those people.

We told the story to customers who found the branch closed Wednesday afternoon.

"Obviously he hasn't learned his lesson the first time," John Cole said.

This all started about 9 o'clock in the morning. The Sheriff's Office told NBC12 Emile was wearing street clothes while waiting for US Marshals to transfer him to temporary federal custody. He was in the jail's only holding area; the same area those scheduled for release wait.

According to Sheriff CT Woody, somehow Emile got into that exit line and was seen getting into a car and leaving the facility.

We're told Emile went into the bank without any weapon and simply handed a note to the teller.

Within two minutes of getting the robbery call, Richmond Police said a bike officer saw and arrested the suspect a few blocks away. They aren't releasing just how much money he was able to get away with.

Sheriff Woody explained internal affairs is investigating.

"It's just like a homicide," he said. "It's one too many. These things happen. We are not making any excuses."

We don't know yet what the consequences of Wednesday's accidental release will be but Sheriff Woody has fired deputies for wrongdoing in the past. Just last week two were terminated for having sex with female inmates.

In Wednesday's case, he intends to find out where there was a breakdown.

"Whatever violations or rules or whoever made the mistake, we will take necessary steps," he maintained.

Emile is no stranger to the law. The Commonwealth's Attorney's Office explained he has violent crimes in his past and if he's convicted for the April robbery, he'll be sentenced under the three strikes rule. That mandates a minimum life sentence. The charge is set to go to trial November 10th.

Copyright 2011 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.