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Lunching sheriff’s deputies foil men’s ‘cartoon-like’ escape from Downtown halfway house

Brian C. Rittmeyer
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Chad St. Clair (left) and Matthew Comer (right)

Allegheny County Sheriff’s deputies caught two men trying to carry out a “cartoon-like” escape from a Downtown Pittsburgh halfway house Monday by going down a fire escape, authorities said.

Sgt. Tom Ninehouser and Deputy Jon Monaco were eating lunch at the Pittsburgh Municipal Courts building when they saw two men — Chad St. Clair, 36, of Smithfield and Matthew Comer, 36, of Pittsburgh — coming down the back stairwell of the Renewal Inc. building on Second Avenue and realized they were attempting to escape, authorities said.

St. Clair and Comer were housed at Renewal in compliance with their probation or parole. St. Clair had pleaded guilty to a robbery charge earlier this year; Comer pleaded guilty to a federal firearms violation, according to the sheriff’s department.

Monaco demanded to know what they were doing. St. Clair said he wanted to go back to jail and surrendered to deputies, the sheriff’s department said.

Comer tried to get away from the Municipal Courts parking lot toward Second Avenue, authorities said. He did not get far, and Monaco took him into custody after a brief scuffle in which Monaco was injured.

St. Clair and Comer were taken to the Pittsburgh Municipal Courts Building, where they were being held while charges were being filed.

Monaco was treated and released from a medical facility, the sheriff’s department said.

Brian Rittmeyer is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Brian at 724-226-4701, [email protected] or via Twitter @BCRittmeyer.

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