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Sex assault suspect escapes custody, on the loose in Bozeman

By Katherine Mozzone, KTVM Reporter, kmozzone@ktvm.com
Published On: Feb 01 2014 11:06:45 AM MST
Updated On: Feb 02 2014 05:48:19 AM MST
BOZEMAN, Mont. -

A dangerous sex assault suspect with a violent past is on the loose in Bozeman. Police tell us 28-year-old Kevin A. Briggs was being questioned for a reported rape and assault with a knife when he escaped the Gallatin County Law and Justice Center on foot. We're told Briggs was still in hand and ankle cuffs when he escaped, just after 8am.

He's described as being 5' 6" with brown hair and blue eyes. He was wearing a black or gray hoodie with semi-white stripes, green pants and black shoes. Anyone with information about his escape is asked to call 9-1-1.

We wanted to learn more about what Briggs did to end up at the Law and Justice Center, how he escaped and what police are doing to find him.

"I would consider Briggs dangerous and potentially armed and citizens should not approach him," says Bozeman Captain Steve Crawford.

Crawford tells us that just after 5am, Saturday morning, police responded to a reported rape. A knife was involved and the victim knew her attacker.

"They located a subject who was identified as Kevin A. Briggs, who's a 28 year old male. Briggs was taken into custody and brought to the Law and Justice Center. An investigation was commenced," says Crawford.

Crawford says several hours later, at around 8am, Briggs fled an interview room and escaped through the front door of the Law and Justice Center, headed north towards Main Street on foot.

"It was an oversight while he was being monitored so, that's something that we're looking at...Generally we have procedures that would prevent this so...that part's surprising and so, we're going to look at that and fix what needs to be fixed there," explains Crawford.

He tells us a number of officers started a search for Briggs, following footprints in the snow, bringing in a K9 unit to help track him down.

"As the day got on and more and more folks were walking around, the track became increasingly difficult and they ultimately did not locate him," Crawford says.

Some of the last possible tracks police were able to locate were in the area of  Koch and Babcokc and 15th and Babcock.

Police are following several leads. One tip Crawford says may or may not be related- someone reported a green subaru station wagon with a black ski box hitting several cars in the area of 7th and Babcock, close to where Briggs was tracked.

He says they're also looking into reports of someone in the westbound lane of I-90, trying to get a ride.

Police across the state have been notified. The Gallatin County Sheriff's Office, Montana Highway Patrol, MSU Police and the FBI are all helping to locate Briggs.

"The biggest thing that could help us is that the public is aware of what he looks like and they call us if they see somebody that looks like this subject or is moving in a manner in which he appears to still have some restraints on, we would want to know that as soon as possible," Crawford says.

Crawford adds, Briggs may have changed his appearance and clothing.

We learned this isn't the first time Briggs has escaped from custody or been suspected of rape and assault. We dug deeper and found out he's a registered sex offender. His wrap sheet dates back to 2004.

We found Briggs has been charged with burglary, sexual intercourse without consent and aggravated kidnapping out of Lewis and Clark County.

We also tracked down two charges for escape, one out of Lewis and Clark County and another out of Powell County.