Tuesday, July 7, 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

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Erik Gomez, still on the lam
Erik Gomez, still on the lam
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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 and Vinny Vella.

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