Belleville man cooling off in jail after hiding from deputies in deep freeze

A Belleville man tried hiding from police in a deep freezer, and when that failed he escaped from police custody before being caught again over the weekend.

Lester D. Smith, 20, of Belleville, was in custody Monday and waiting grand jury actions on armed robbery, theft and escape.

Sheriff’s deputies with the St. Clair County Drug Tactical Unit went to Smith’s home on Friday evening; Smith had a probation violation warrant for his arrest.

Deputies found Smith inside a deep freezer, they said in a news release on Monday. Smith was taken to an unmarked vehicle while deputies continued to search the house. Smith escaped the vehicle, deputies said, and was caught again after a “short foot pursuit.”

Smith pleaded guilty in 2016 to burglary charges that involved a stolen vehicle and juvenile defendants; he was on probation on those charges at the time of his arrest on Friday.

Smith was being held on $370,000 bail on Monday morning, which includes $100,000 bail for escape.

Mary Cooley: 618-239-2535; @MaryCooleyBND