He fled from a bondsman but he can’t be charged with escape, sheriff says

A Biloxi man ran from the Harrison County jail while still handcuffed after a bail bondsmen who brought him in left him in the lobby.

The man, identified as Viet Van Nguyen, 45, of Biloxi, fled from the Harrison County jail Thursday morning before a bail bondsman could turn him in, Sheriff Troy Peterson said.

A bondsman from G.W. Foxx Bonding had brought him to jail Thursday to turn him in on a charge of failure to appear in court on a grand larceny charge. It happened shortly before 9:30 a.m. He was taken into custody in an hour or less.

The bondsman asked another bondsman from a different company to watch him while he went outside to move his car, Peterson said. The bondsman left Nguyen in the lobby with his hands cuffed in front of his body.

“He had not been turned over to our custody yet,” Peterson said. Because he was not yet in custody of the jail, he will not be charged with escape.

Nguyen ran through the employee parking lot, scaled an exterior fence with barbed wire on the southeast side of the jail and RAN into woods, officials said. The fence is 8 feet high, but that area is on a hill and on the lowest part of the fenced area, making it about 6 feet high, the sheriff said.

Viet Van Nguyen
Viet Van Nguyen ran from the Harrison County jail in January before a bail bondsman could turn him in. He had failed to appear in court on a grand larceny charge. Harrison County Adult Detention Center

K-9 teams were brought in on the search. He was found, lying down, about 75 yards away.

Nguyen didn’t scale the jail’s interior fence, which has razor-coil wire and “ankle-crusher rocks” intended to deter escapes. Nguyen was not injured as he ran off.

Gulfport police, deputies and the U.S. Border Patrol were searching for him in woods along Seaway Road and Interstate 10. The jail, off Larkin Smith Drive, is between Seaway and Interstate 10.

He is now being held with no bond on a Circuit Court warrant.

He was free on a $10,000 bond on the grand larceny charge. He had been arrested after an indictment on Oct. 18, 2016, and was released Dec. 12, 2016.

Nguyen was convicted on a drug possession charge involving cocaine or heroin after a 2011 arrest, the jail docket shows.

He was arrested on charges of fraud in 2011 and burglary in 2015; a grand jury found insufficient evidence to indict him. He was fined in 2014 on a misdemeanor shoplifting charge.

Robin Fitzgerald: 228-896-2307, @robincrimenews John Fitzhugh: 228-896-2193, @JFitzhughPhoto