A Florida man was released from jail. It only took 15 minutes for him to get back in.

Casey Michael Lewis’ booking photo on April 4, 2019.
Casey Michael Lewis’ booking photo on April 4, 2019. St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office

Florida man Casey Michael Lewis was free for all of 15 minutes before he was marched right back into a jail cell.

St. Lucie deputies didn’t have to go very far to catch Lewis who, they say, was released from the St. Lucie County Detention Facility in Fort Pierce on Thursday. That’s because he never left the grounds where he had been held after being charged with grand theft.

According to the arrest affidavit, two deputies — John O’ Connell and Ramon Lopez — saw Lewis, 37, on surveillance video “walking around the parking lot acting suspicious and checking vehicle doors.”

The deputies say they saw Lewis “clearly” looking into cars and checking door handles to see if they were unlocked. According to the affidavit, Lewis entered a silver car from the driver’s side and sat inside for more than two minutes. Deputies say he got out of that car, walked from the front of the parking lot “all the way” to the exit gate, and repeated the process of lifting latches and peering into cars.

Finally, Lewis was approached by St. Lucie Officer Neill Lettman who told him he was seen walking around the jail’s lot, checking on vehicles. Lewis, Lettman said, told him he was “waiting for his girlfriend” to pick him up. 

Lewis, who had appeared “upset” when first released because he had been stripped of his cigarettes, must have realized he was busted because he handed Lettman a brown paper bag with property deputies say he removed from the silver car.

Deputies said the bag contained an iPhone 7, four packs of Blue King cigarettes, a lighter, a Visa bank debit car, a Florida driver’s license and $547 in cash.

Lewis was “re-booked into the jail on MORE burglary charges and released AGAIN on a bond of $11,250,” the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office posted on its Facebook page under the header: “JAIL IS BAD, BUT FOR SOME IT’S BETTER THAN HOME.”

Lewis faces charges including burglary of a conveyance, grand theft, and possession of stolen property.

This time, deputies made sure Lewis was met by someone at the jail when he was released for the second time that day.

This Florida man doesn’t win any points for originality, however. In November 2018, Klaid Karpuzi, 41, of New Port Richey, was released from jail on an auto theft charge. He immediately broke into another car — in the jail’s parking lot, Pasco County deputies said. Karpuzi was easily caught because a deputy was sitting behind the wheel, officers said. Karpuzi, like Lewish after him, was marched back into the correctional facility and booked on a second attempted auto theft charge in November 2018.

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Miami Herald Real Time/Breaking News reporter Howard Cohen, a 2017 Media Excellence Awards winner, has covered pop music, theater, health and fitness, obituaries, municipal government and general assignment. He started his career in the Features department at the Miami Herald in 1991.