Friday, February 27, 2015

Inmate who escaped jail during Sandy outage still at large

Authorities have caught all but one of the four inmates who took advantage of a 10-minute blackout at a city prison to escape during Hurricane Sandy last month. They're still seeking Erik Gomez, 27. Police ask anyone with information about his whereabouts to call 9-1-1 or their local police station.

Inmate who escaped jail during Sandy outage still at large

Erik Gomez, still on the lam
Erik Gomez, still on the lam

Authorities have caught all but one of the four inmates who took advantage of a 10-minute blackout at a city prison to escape during Hurricane Sandy last month.

They're still seeking Erik Gomez, 27. Police ask anyone with information about his whereabouts to call 9-1-1 or their local police station.

The other three escapees - Rafael Zayas, 34, Robert Collins, 22, and James Foulk, 25 - were caught within the past week and sent to the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility, prisons spokeswoman Shawn Hawes said.

The quartet now face escape and conspiracy charges. They were "low-custody" inmates jailed at the Community Education Center's Hoffman Hall, a subcontracted rehabilitative facility in North Philly that houses about 230 pre- and posttrial male drug offenders.

Gomez, Zayas and Collins have lengthy criminal records, filled mostly with drug arrests, as well as frequent probation violations, court records show.

The escape - the city's first since 2010 - occurred when power went out during the hurricane and the facility's backup generator failed to function. The doors, which operate electronically, unlocked, and the four just strolled out.

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Philly Confidential, which covers crime in Philadelphia and the suburbs, is written by Daily News staffers Dana DiFilippo, Stephanie Farr, Vinny Vella and Morgan Zalot.

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