GREENFIELD – A Martinsville man will spend four years in prison and four years on probation after admitting to robbing a local gas station and then trying to escape from the Hancock County Jail after his arrest.

Joseph Cragen, 24, 4490 Ennis Road, pleaded guilty Wednesday during a hearing in Hancock County Superior Court 1 to felony counts he faced in two unrelated criminal cases.

Cragen was ordered during the same hearing to serve a combined eight-year sentence. He’ll spend the first half in an Indiana Department of Correction facility before returning to Greenfield to enroll in probation.

Cragen was arrested in late June after he stole money from a McCordsville gas station, according to court documents.

An employee told police Cragen snatched money out of her hand as another customer was paying for a purchase, court documents state. While the cashier tried to pull the money back from him, Cragen reached into the open cash register and grabbed what turned out to be $100 in various bills, court documents state.

Cragen ran from the store but police caught up with him a short while later and took him to the Hancock County Jail, court documents state.

About a week later, Cragen tried to run from the facility as officers brought supplies into the building through an open back door, jail officers said.

Cragen had been sitting in the jail’s medical office – about 10 feet from the book-in desk – waiting to speak to a nurse. One jail officer was manning the book-in desk at the time of the incident while another officer was working to bring boxes of commissary items from a garage into the facility, court documents state.

Cragen made a break for the door while the officer was trying to bring supplies inside, officials said. The officer tried to stop Cragen by grabbing onto his shirt, but he continued to run forward, dragging the officer along behind him briefly until before he broke free, court documents state.

The door Cragen tried to run through led into a garage, not onto the street outside the facility, officials said. The overhead garage door that keeps that portion of the building secure was closed and properly locked at the time, preventing Cragen from escaping, officials said.

Cragen admitted to both crimes this week while accepting a plea agreement from prosecutors.

Cragen pleaded guilty to one Level 5 felony count of attempted escape and agreed to serve a four-year sentence on probation, prosecutors said. He also pleaded guilty to a Level 5 felony count of theft and agreed to serve four years in prison for the action, prosecutors said.

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Caitlin VanOverberghe is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3237 or