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Guard Caught Holding the Knife

A former Pontiac Illinois prison guard, Rick Householder, 41, was convicted on June 25, 1996 of possessing a homemade knife. Householder, who was once named "Officer of the Year" for his skill at finding contraband weapons, was convicted of possession of contraband in a state penal institution and criminal damage to state-supported property, following a two-day bench trial. He faces a possible 4-15 year prison term or a jail term with probation.

If he was so good at sniffing out homemade shanks, how was it that he was convicted of possessing one? Well, simply put, it was his knife. He made it out of metal from a guard-tower light louver, sharpened the edge by rubbing it on concrete and wrapped one end in tape and cloth.

He left the prison with the knife and returned the next day, according to prison officials, and then "found" the shank near the maximum security prison's gymnasium.

Livingston County State's Attorney Thomas Brown said that another guard became suspicious after noticing the missing metal strip and scrape marks on the wall of the guard tower. After Householder "found" the knife, it was compared to the missing metal strip in the tower and a match was made.

Householder was featured in training videos focusing on finding weapons. He was praised for "finding" more than 100 homemade knives in one year. Brown said there is no reason to think any prisoners were wrongly convicted of possessing homemade knives because of Householder. Yeah, right.

Sources: Associated Press, Illinois Pantograph

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