Bounty hunters arrested a 19-year-old Jefferson woman in the parking lot of the Sussex after she escaped from Jefferson County Jail, and a few village residents saw the scuffle go down.
Tessa Vince-Schmidt was caught by Fugitive Investigation Services at 2:50 p.m. on July 24 and is being charged with one count of felony escape. She was released by Jefferson County Jail for work release program that morning, but never returned.
Darrel Abramczak, director and chief investigator at Fugitive Investigations, was the man behind the Sussex grocery story arrest, and his job is all about public safety and apprehending suspected criminals. Abramczak says the term “bounty hunter” is not usually used within the industry, but it's accurate.
“For a reasonable fee, we track down and locate individuals who, for whatever reason, have found themselves on the wrong side of the law,” the company’s website says. “While the work may not be as glamorous or exciting as you may have seen on TV or in movies, our reward comes in the form of satisfied customers who had no other resources to tap.
Abramczak said he got a tip from an informant that Vince-Schmidt hadn’t returned to jail after her work release ended, so his team pounced into action.
“We got the tip and we acted on it,” Abramczak said. “We contacted Jefferson County and found the warrant for her arrest out there. The person that tipped us off then said they could lure her to the Sussex Pick ‘n Save parking lot, so we set the trap.”
"I had a talk with her on the way back to jail and asked why she even tried escaping after only having 28 days left on her sentence."
Vince-Schmidt has a long history with Jefferson County law enforcement, with convictions for battery, theft and driving without a license. She was being held in jail for misdemeanor battery charges after her probation was revoked before leaving and heading for Sussex.
“When we caught her, she kind of struggled a little bit," Abramczak said. “She knew what was going on. Now she’s facing anything from $10,000 in fines to six years in jail. I had a talk with her on the way back to jail and asked why she even tried escaping after only having 28 days left on her sentence. Now she’s facing six years.”
"Most of the escapees leave jail like that,” said an employee with the Jefferson County Jail, who confirmed that Vince-Schmidt did escape custody. “They’re let out on the Huber Law or work release, and never come back… She was serving some time and didn’t even have that much time left to serve.”
Sussex Patch reader Amanda Holzem saw the whole incident at Pick ‘n Save go down. Her investigative work after witnessing Abramczak’s apprehension of Vince-Schmidt sparked Patch’s interest in the story.
“Last Tuesday, July 24, I was at Pick ‘n Save and I noticed a lot of commotion in the parking lot,” Holzem wrote in an email to Patch. “So after I did some investigating of my own, I came to realize that Fugitive Investigations had caught an escaped convict from Jefferson County… right here in Sussex.”
Vince-Schmidt’s next day in court is on August 8. She is now being held in Jefferson County Jail.