The Putnam Examiner

FBI Probes Actions Surrounding Suspect’s Attempted Escape from Custody

We are part of The Trust Project

The events surrounding an incident at Carmel Town Hall involving a suspected bank robber and two Putnam County sheriff’s supervisors is now under investigation by the FBI, the county sheriff’s department confirmed last week.

Sheriff Don Smith requested federal authorities look into the actions of the two sheriff supervisors after the alleged bank robber, 29-year-old Kenneth DeFreitas, apparently attempted to escape by grabbing one of the supervisor’s guns after a July 3 arraignment. The sheriff’s department is also investigating the matter internally, according to sheriff’s spokesperson Captain William McNamara.

In an email, McNamara said the sheriff’s office in investigating the “force used by the investigators during the altercation.” Currently, the two scrutinized supervisors have been placed on administrative duties while it is pending.

The sheriff’s office has also obtained and turned over a video recording of the incident taken by a security camera in the town hall, though it is unclear what the recording shows. McNamara said many details are not available because an investigation is still being conducted.

DeFreitas is facing charges of burglaries at homes in Putnam Lake, an attempted robbery at the A&P supermarket in Southeast and the June 23 robbery of the Putnam County National Bank in Carmel. As a result of the attempted escape, DeFreitas rap sheet includes first degree attempted escape and second degree attempted criminal possession of a weapon.

The former Putnam Lake resident is also is charged with parole violation in North Carolina.

Last month, a press release sent out by the sheriff’s office revealed part of the incident now being investigated. It stated DeFreitas grabbed the gun of one the investigators and tried to remove it from the officer’s holster as he was being escorted from his arraignment. He ultimately failed.

“A struggle ensued but Mr. DeFreitas was subdued,” part of the release stated. “No one was injured.”

We'd love for you to support our work by joining as a free, partial access subscriber, or by registering as a full access member. Members get full access to all of our content, and receive a variety of bonus perks like free show tickets. Learn more here.