An Army reservist who was incarcerated for stealing M4s and pistols from a federal armory in 2015 has escaped from a Rhode Island detention center- and authorities are piecing together just how exactly he did it.35-year-old James Walker Morales was found to be missing from the facility just a half-hour shy of midnight on New Year’s Eve, having reportedly scaled a building by way of a basketball hoop, cutting through a fence, climbing over razor wire and ultimately stealing a car to make good his escape.
Police recovered the getaway car in Massachusetts since the escape and two members of the Rhode Island-based Wyatt Detention Center have been placed on administrative lead in the ensuing investigation.
Security officers reportedly did not realize Morales was missing until three hours after his escape on Saturday night.
“Anytime somebody escapes from a maximum security facility and gets loose into the community, it poses a threat to the community,” said Richard Ferruccio, President of Rhode Island Brotherhood of Correctional Officers told ABC6. “But probably even more important, it poses a threat to law enforcement because they’re going to have to try to recapture this individual.”
A massive federal, state and local law enforcement manhunt is being conducted under the supervision of the US Marshals Service, which gave the Donald W. Wyatt Detention Center an “excellent” rating in August of this year.
Morales stole over 16 weapons -six M4 assault rifles and ten pistols- from a Worcester, Massachusetts Armory in November of 2015. His capture partially stemmed from information obtained by an electronic monitoring device he was ordered to wear after facing charges in May of the same year for child rape and indecent assault on a child under 14-years-old. At the time of the May charge, he was separated from the US Army Reserve rosters.
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