Saturday, September 20, 2014
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Inmate who fled jail during Sandy nabbed

The last of Hurricane Sandy's jailbreakers has been caught. Erik Gomez, 27, one of four inmates who walked out of a city prison during a hurricane-caused power outage Oct. 28, was arrested at a South Philadelphia bar Saturday night without incident, said Lt. Sam Turner, of the First Judicial District of Pennsylvania warrant unit.

Inmate who fled jail during Sandy nabbed

No more margaritas for Erik Gomez
No more margaritas for Erik Gomez

The last of Hurricane Sandy's jailbreakers has been caught.

Erik Gomez, 27, one of four inmates who walked out of a city prison during a hurricane-caused power outage Oct. 28, was arrested at a South Philadelphia eatery Saturday night without incident, said Lt. Sam Turner, of the First Judicial District of Pennsylvania warrant unit.

Warrant officers heard Gomez would be at a Mexican restaurant on Passyunk Avenue near Morris Street and set up surveillance there, Turner said. When Gomez entered the bar, the officers pounced and took him to the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility, Turner said. The officers found drugs on him, so he's now charged with narcotics offenses, escape and conspiracy, Turner added.

Turner's unit also caught the other three escapees - Rafael Zayas, 34, Robert Collins, 22, and James Foulk, 25. The quartet 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 for 10 minutes during the hurricane and the facility's backup generator failed. The doors, which operate electronically, unlocked, and the four just strolled out.

About this blog

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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