Burglary suspect turned away from Oklahoma County Jail after claiming to have COVID-19 symptoms

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EDMOND, Okla. (KFOR) – Edmond Police say a burglary suspect was turned away from the Oklahoma County Jail because he said he had coronavirus symptoms.

Officers found 39-year-old Nicholas Leach trying to break into the China King restaurant.

He’s suspected of burglarizing two other businesses in similar fashion.

Leach told officers he had COVID-19 symptoms and that his brother tested positive for the virus.

“We did not book him into our jail. We took him to the Oklahoma County Jail, and then from there he was not booked in,” Emily Ward with Edmond Police said.

Mark Myers with the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office says it’s procedure for every person brought in to be medically evaluated and cleared before being booked into the jail.

“Generally if someone is deemed by medical professionals here at the jail not healthy enough to be booked into the facility, they will tell the booking law enforcement officer to take that individual to a hospital and have them medically cleared,” Myers said.

According to the police report, that didn’t happen.

Leach was dropped off at “10th and Shartel due to OCSO not accepting him due to COVID protocols.”

Edmond Police say there may have been some misunderstanding between the arresting officer and jail staff about taking Leach to a medical facility. 

Ward says it was the intention of the officer to file out-of-custody charges when he dropped Leach off because it’s a common practice for non-violent property crimes.

“He has out of custody charges. He will still face the same charges he’s just not in custody,” Ward said.

“It’s not like he gets a get-out-of-jail free card or get-off-these-charges free card, he still has those charges,” Myers said.

Myers also says every person brought into the jail can be isolated for 10 days as precaution to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

If someone in the jail were to show coronavirus symptoms, they would be isolated, and the Sheriff’s Office would work with health officials to determine if the person should be hospitalized.

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