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Man who escaped from Niagara Falls cops twice goes to prison

LOCKPORT - Robert L. Shimmel, who got away from police officers twice on separate visits to Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center, was sentenced Tuesday to 1 1/2 to three years in state prison.

Shimmel, 34, of Willow Avenue in the Falls, pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree escape, a plea that covered both incidents.

On Feb. 18, he ran while a medical center employee was taking him from one room to another. Falls police brought him to the hospital after Shimmel complained of illness during a City Court appearance in a burglary case. Shimmel was caught by a policeman about two blocks from the hospital.

On May 26, Shimmel complained of chest pain at City Court, but after he arrived at the hospital, he confessed to an officer that he was lying about that, but wanted his mental health medication changed. As the officer went to report that to nurses in the emergency room, Shimmel hopped off the gurney and escaped the hospital while wearing handcuffs and ankle shackles. He fell down in the parking lot, however.

"This probably occurred because he was off his medication," Assistant Public Defender Vincent M. Sandonato said. Shimmel also owes the state as much as 2 1/2 years of parole violation time for a 2014 burglary conviction.


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