AUBURN — An Androscoggin County Jail inmate scaled a razor-wire-topped fence, scampered across a roof and fell to the ground outside the jail in an attempt to escape at about 9:30 a.m. Friday morning.
Antonio Abreau, a 40-year-old convicted sex offender, fell to the county building's parking lot on Turner Street and was taken away by ambulance minutes later.
According to Sheriff Guy Desjardins, the man was seriously injured by the razor wire along the top of the chain-link fencing. Witness said it appeared Abreau also struck his head in the fall.
He was being treated Friday night at Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston where he was listed in stable condition.
"Right now, we're conducting an investigation, which is a criminal matter, so we can't discuss it," Jail Administrator John Lebel said.
Abreau is considered a high-risk sex offender.
In 1992, he was convicted of raping a woman in the Washington County town of Perry. In that attack, police said, Abreau broke into the home of a woman in her late 60s and threatened, assaulted and raped her.
He was later caught and served a portion of a 20-year prison sentence.
Abreau was convicted of aggravated assault in 2005 in connection with the stabbing of 23-year-old Michael Lagasse in Lewiston, and sentenced to serve seven years in state prison, with all but two years suspended. He had originally been charged with attempted murder, but that charge was later dismissed.
He has since been released from prison, and is serving the end of three years' probation. According to jail officials, Abreau was being held on a probation violation following his arrest by Sabattus police. He had been at the jail since June 27.
The escape forced the Auburn-Lewiston YMCA, next door on Turner Street, into an immediate lockdown. YMCA employee Laura Langlin of Livermore said she was looking out of a third-floor window when she witnessed the escape attempt.
Inmates were in a courtyard behind the building when Langlin noticed a shadow near the top of the fence.
"I saw him climb up and over the fence, then run across the roof," she said. Other inmates in the yard appeared to be cheering him on as guards responded.
The man was wearing overalls, but he had taken off the top part of the one-piece uniform and lost a shoe as he ran across the roof.
"He started climbing the other fence, the fence on the other side, and I looked away to call the other people here to see what was going on," Langlin said. She looked back just in time to see him fall to the ground, flat on his back.
Desjardins said Abreau was with other inmates in the recreation yard. All inmate recreation has been suspended while jail officials investigate the attempted escape.