A female convict who escaped from custody on Sept. 23 was still at large at press time, according to the Pine County Sheriff’s Office.
Sarah Beth Ziwicki, 29, was serving a sentence for a non-violent drug offense, and absconded from the Sentence to Service crew while out on a work detail in Sandstone.
Sentencing to Service (STS) is a sentencing alternative for Minnesota courts that puts nonviolent offenders to work on community improvement projects. It is designed to repay the community for harm incurred by an offender with a structured work program for low-risk adult and juvenile offenders.
“To be eligible for STS you have to be a low-risk offender,” explained Pine County Chief Deputy Paul Widenstrom. “You’re not in there for killing people, anything like that.”
The STS crew was in Sandstone at the old North Pine Government Center. Widenstrom said the county land office will be moving in there as well as the Pine County Sheriff’s Office Sandstone sub-office.
“So they were doing some cleaning in there ... from the construction work and sheetrock, moving furniture around, getting it ready for people to move in,” Widenstrom explained.
Widenstrom said that Ziwicki had been on the work crew for a number of days. He said that the leader of the work crew is always in the building with the crew, but may be moving around to check on different workers.
“He’s not dropping them off someplace and then leaving to run to the hardware store, anything like that. He’s always in the building.”
Ziwicki was last seen at about 11:20 a.m. by her supervisor.
“She was cleaning in one room,” Widenstrom said. “[The supervisor] said he went to get some cleaning supplies, he came back and she wasn’t there. She went out a door.”
Ziwicki has ties to the Sandstone and Pine City area. Widenstrom said there were no giveaways in her phone calls from the jail that she was planning to escape, but that she may have done so on a personal visit.
“There was no indication that she was saying, ‘Hey! I’m going to make a run for it,’ or anything. My guess is she had lined up somebody – or she just took off. She is from the Sandstone area originally, so I’m sure she knows plenty of people.”
Widenstrom said the sheriff’s office has no information on whether or not Ziwicki is still in the area.
Anyone with information on Ziwicki’s wherabouts is asked to call the Pine County Sheriff’s Office at 320-629-8380.