3 Men Break Into Abandoned Jail, Accidentally Lock Themselves In Cell

Fiona McLoughlin Contributor
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Police rescued three trespassers after they locked themselves in a cell at an abandoned jail in St. Louis, Missouri, on Thursday.

St. Louis police spokesperson Sgt. Charles Wall told KSDK News that officers responded to a call for help at the Medium Security Institution, known as the “Workhouse.”

Police freed the three men and then arrested them, per the outlet. The trespassers face possible charges of burglary, stealing and property damage, KSDK noted.

The jail has been empty for over a year, according to the outlet. Inmates were moved out of the facility in May 2022, a year after St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones announced it would close due to allegations of inhumane conditions. (RELATED: Call To Police Over Alleged Trespassing In Idaho Leads To More Than 50 Wildlife Charges).

Six plaintiffs filed a lawsuit on Nov. 13, 2017, alleging that “they and thousands of other people were forced to endure inhumane conditions such as flooding, sewage, insect and rodent infestation, and excessive heat” at the institution according to an Arch City Defenders press release.

One plaintiff in the case, James Cody, was jailed at the facility for eight months due to a probation violation and reportedly found mouse feces in cake served at the jail, according to Kens5.

“I felt like I was treated like a dog,” Cody said at a news conference, per the outlet. “Dogs get treated better, to tell you the truth.”

In August, a steering committee began looking into alternatives for the abandoned site, with proposals ranging from a recreational facility to a museum, according to KSDK.