Ark. Woman Posed as Sheriff’s Deputy to Help Boyfriend Escape Jail, Gets 15 Years in Prison

Christine Pelisek
Arkansas Woman Posing as Deputy to Spring Boyfriend from Jail

An Arkansas woman was sentenced to 15 years in prison for masquerading as a California police officer so she could get her boyfriend out of jail.

Maxine Feldstein, 31, pleaded guilty earlier this week in Washington County Circuit Court to forgery in the second-degree, third-degree escape and second-degree misdemeanor criminal impersonation in the jail escape plot.

“It was very well-planned and very well-executed,” Fourth Judicial District Chief deputy prosecuting attorney Mieka Hatcher tells PEOPLE. “Planning and executing an escape is a serious crime.”

Feldstein’s attorney could not be reached for comment.

Authorities say Feldstein and her boyfriend Nicholas Lowe, 24, concocted the escape plan after both were arrested last July and taken to the Washington County jail.

Feldstein was arrested for possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver and was released the following day, according to the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

Lowe was kept in jail because of a police hold out of Ventura County, California, Hatcher says.

While Lowe was in jail, he allegedly told Feldstein to alert jail officials that California was “having issues with overcrowding and all low-priority extraditions have been suspended,” according to a police probable cause affidavit, reports KTHV.

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Feldstein then contacted the jail claiming to be “Deputy Kershaw with the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office” and gave a deputy a fake document which released the jail hold on Lowe, according to KTHV.

Jailers learned that Feldstein was lying two days later when a real Ventura County Sheriff’s deputy contacted them about when he would be picking up Lowe, KFSM reports.

“Once they began their investigation when they realized what happened, they reviewed phone calls and jail visits and that’s when they discovered the plan,” Hatcher says.

The couple was arrested in Fayetteville one month after the escape.

Lowe pleaded guilty to third-degree escape in January and was sentenced to one year in prison, KNWA reports.

According to Hatcher, Feldstein received 10 years for the forgery conviction and five years for the escape conviction.

Explaining the discrepancy of the sentences to PEOPLE, Hatcher says Feldstein was on parole after felony drug convictions.

“He was in custody and he simply suggested that she do this,” Hatcher says.

She adds, “She actually did everything. She impersonated a sheriff deputy. She forged the document. … He escaped because she carried out the plan.”