Fed prisoner walks from county jail

March 30, 2007
BY RUTH ANN KRAUSE Post-Tribune correspondent
There is no honor among thieves -- or suspected heroin dealers.

William Kenneth Smith, 33, a federal prisoner being housed at the Lake County Jail on heroin dealing charges, escaped from the jail Wednesday by using the identity of an inmate with the same last name who was scheduled for release.

William Smith, whose birthday was Thursday, was in a holding cell after he returned from a bond reduction hearing at the federal courthouse in Hammond when he assumed the identity of Kevin Smith, who was called to be released on bond.

William Smith's bond reduction was denied.

Not only did William Smith slip out of jail, he also took all of Kevin Smith's property, including his Nokia cell phone.

Lake County Jail inmates wear bar-coded wrist bands. It is unclear how William Smith, who is 5 feet 9 inches tall and weighs 160 pounds, posed as Kevin Smith, 40, of Chicago, who outweighs William Smith by 82 pounds and is 5 inches taller. Kevin Smith had been arrested March 20 on a charge of criminal confinement.

Lake County Jail Warden Bennie Freeman did not return a telephone message Thursday.

William Smith, of Chicago, was among 12 people picked up by federal and local authorities Monday in connection with a two-state heroin distribution ring.


The U.S. Marshals Great Lakes Regional Fugitive Task Force is looking for William K. Smith on a charge of escape. Smith has ties to the Gary area and may be hiding there. He has black hair and brown eyes. Anyone with information on Smith's whereabouts may call toll-free (888) 805-6119.