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Woman posed as out-of-state deputy to help boyfriend escape jail, officials say

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Arkansas authorities have arrested a Fayetteville woman accused of helping her boyfriend escape from the county jail by posing as a deputy from California.

Maxine Feldstein, 30, was arrested Friday and faces charges of forgery, accomplice to third-degree escape and criminal impersonation.

Feldstein’s boyfriend, 23-year-old Andrew Lowe, was being held July 27 at the Washington County Detention Center with a hold for criminal impersonation out of Ventura, Calif., according to a probable cause affidavit.

Feldstein, who had bonded out earlier that day, called the jail and identified herself as deputy “L. Kershaw” with the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office, according to the Washington County Sheriff’s Office. She also allegedly provided a forged Ventura County Sheriff’s Office document releasing the agency’s hold on Lowe.

Two days later, jail staff received a call from a Ventura County deputy who was driving to the sheriff’s office to pick up Lowe, which alerted them to the forgery and accidental release.

After reviewing jail video of a visit between Lowe and Feldstein, Washington County deputies discovered Lowe told Feldstein to pose as a California deputy, according to the affidavit.

Nicholas Lowe, 23, now faces an additional count of 2nd degree escape after his girlfriend allegedly helped him flee the jail. (Washington County Detention Center)

Lowe said Feldstein should say that Ventura County was “having issues with overcrowding and all low-priority extraditions have been suspended,” according to the affidavit.

Washington County later confirmed the document Feldstein emailed was fake, and that no deputy named “L. Kershaw” worked for the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office, according to the affidavit.

Lowe was also arrested Friday and faces a felony charge of second-degree escape.

A spokeswoman for the sheriff’s office said the agency is “still evaluating to determine the best corrective action needed to ensure this doesn’t happen again.”

“There is a procedure to ensure requests are legitimate, and that hasn’t changed,” she said.

Feldstein and Lowe were being held Tuesday at the Washington County Detention Center on bonds of $16,500 and $15,000, respectively.

The pair has hearings set for Sept. 5 in Washington County Circuit Court.