Suspected bank robber let out early was ‘least risk to public’

Medford, Ore. — We’re learning more from jail staff, after an  accused bank robber was let out on the street less than 24 hours after he was arrested. Captain Dan Penland says the early release of suspected bank robber David Dean Johnson was their best option.

Johnson was arrested Wednesday night in Ashland, after police say he robbed the Wells Fargo on Main street. He was lodged on theft and robbery charges, and released less than 24  hours later.

Captain Penland says even though Johnson’s risk rating was medium to high, he was the best option to let out.

“It’s been a fairly busy few days, and so his turn came up, he was the one that we decided was the least risk to the public to release,” Penland said. “There aren’t good choices anymore because of the overcrowding situation.”

Last month, NBC5 News brought you an exclusive series on the overcrowding problems that the jail is dealing with, and how staff decides who to let go when all beds are taken. To learn more, click here.

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