Man in jail on robbery charge facing new charges for escape attempt

By WKTV News

ORISKANY, N.Y. (WKTV) - An inmate at the Oneida County Correctional Facility in Oriskany, incarcerated on charges stemming from the robbery of the China Wok restaurant in Utica is now facing new charges after authorities uncovered an escape attempt in its infancy charges.

The Oneida County Sheriff's Office Criminal Investigation Unit has charged Stephen J. Dineen, 28, of Utica, with first-degree attempted escape and first-degree promoting prison contraband.

Dineen was being held on first-degree robbery charges in the City of Utica stemming from the robbery of the China Wok Restaurant on Genesee Street. Authorities say that on November 9, Dineen threatened a clerk at the restaurant and took off with an undisclosed amount of cash. Days later, authorities received a phone call from a citizen who said they say a man wearing the same clothes as the man in surveillance photos from the robbery posted on the Utica Police Department's Facebook page.

The citizen said they saw the man in the same area as the China Wok. When approached by a UPD Sergeant, Dineen is said to have fled on foot. Several officers responded to the area and Dineen was eventually caught and taken into custody near the Price Chopper in South Utica.

On Thursday, December 1, Dineen was indicted by an Oneida County Grand Jury and was taken to the Oneida County Jail on the robbery charge.

He was also wanted by U.S. Marshals just two weeks before the robbery for a violation of parole. At that time, authorities were asking the public to keep an eye out for Dineen, who they said a history of fleeing from police as well as a history of domestic violence toward women. That violation of parole was from when Dineen was on probation in Oneida County for a January 2011 arrest for stalking and criminal trespass.

According to Oneida County Sheriff Robert Maciol, Dineen's escape plan was uncovered during a scheduled "shakedown" of Dineen's housing area that led to the discovery of pseudo-mortar joints in the cement block wall under his bunk, which is an exterior wall. The "shakedown" was conducted by staff correction officers as a part of their daily routine. Closer examination of the imitation mortar joints led to the discovery of metallic mop head holder secreted in a hole in the mortar.

Sheriff Maciol said that Dineen had planned on using the metallic mop head holder to carve a hole into the walls of the jail. He succeeded in creating a inch and a half diameter hole in the mortar before the materials and the hole was discovered during the shakedown. Maciol said Dineen's attempt was in its very early stages, and that the hole was no where close to making it through the numerous bricks that made up the jail wall.

Dineen was charged on arrest warrants lodged at the Oneida County Correctional Facility and will be arraigned in Whitestown Court at a later date.

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