Police: Bridges ‘armed and dangerous’

  • Posted: Friday, January 25, 2013 12:26 p.m.
    UPDATED: Friday, January 25, 2013 6:08 p.m.
John Knox Bridges
John Knox Bridges

UPDATE (6:00 p.m.): Salisbury Police said Knox Bridges left his South Ellis Street home about 1 p.m. Officers searched the home about 5 p.m. Bridges, who did not show for his sentencing in federal court on fraud charges, is believed to be driving his mother’s charcoal-grey Volvo station wagon, authorities said.

Investigators said Bridges has contacted releatives while on the run.


UPDATE (5:20 p.m.): Authorities say John Knox Bridges — a Salisbury man who pleaded guilty to bilking victims out of millions — appears to be on the run and should be considered “armed and dangerous.”

In a notice transmitted to law enforcement, a police dispatcher said Bridges is believed to be driving a grey Volvo station wagon registered to his mother Wanda Bridges.

The dispatcher said Bridges “has threatened to harm himself and law enforcement.”

Salisbury Police were notified by the U.S. Marshal’s Office shortly after a federal judge issued warrants for Bridges Friday afternoon. Bridges has also been entered into a national crime database.

UPDATE (3:33 p.m.): A federal court official says John Knox Bridges’ no-show for sentencing today voids the plea agreement he reached with prosecutors.

That means instead of about six years in prison Bridges was expected to serve under his deal, he could up to 30 years behind bars.

A federal judge has issued a warrant for Bridges after the Salisbury man failed to show up for his sentencing hearing today in Charlotte.

Bridges was scheduled for sentencing at 2 p.m. Other hearings in U.S. District Court were cancelled today due to the wintry weather.

At 2:40 p.m., the judge left his chambers and entered the courtroom, where he questioned Bridges’ attorney about the defendant’s absence.

“I delayed coming in here for some time with the hope that Mr. Bridges would appear,” the judge told the attorney.

Bridges’ attorney asked to speak privately with the judge, but the request was denied. The judge told the attorney to give the reason for Bridges’ absence in open court. The defense lawyer said that would violate attorney-client privilege.

A federal prosecutor asked the judge to issue a warrant for Knox, but she declined to comment further after the hearing.

Others in the courtroom, including some of Bridges’ alleged victims, also declined to comment.

By Nathan Hardin
nhardin@salisburypost.com

CHARLOTTE — A Salisbury man who pleaded guilty to money laundering and securities fraud in a multimillion dollar Ponzi scheme is expected to be sentenced today.

John Knox Bridges is scheduled for sentencing at 2 p.m.

Bridges pleaded guilty to running a $2.3 million Ponzi scheme last February. The former N.C. Transportation Museum Foundation member was accused of taking $600,000 from the board while as a member, as well as hundreds of thousands from friends and another $800,000 from North Carolina fresco artist Ben Long.

Court officials waited almost a year after Bridges entered his plea agreement as the U.S. Probation Office prepared a pre-sentence investigation report.

Structured sentencing on Bridges’ charges call for a maximum of 30 years in prison, but the South Ellis Street man’s cooperation with prosecutors led them to ask for a lower sentence.

Bridges is expected to spend between 57 and 71 months in prison and pay full restitution to his victims.

Check Saturday’s Post for more information.

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