Fleeing Monroe prisoners quickly caught

By Cathy Logg

Herald Writer

MONROE — The first prisoners to escape from the Monroe Correctional Complex’s minimum security work camp compound Monday allegedly stole a car but were captured shortly afterward.

The two men, a 36-year-old King County man serving time for second-degree assault and a 55-year-old Clark County man serving time for first-degree robbery, were booked into Snohomish County Jail on investigation of first-degree escape and second-degree theft, prison associate superintendent Willie Daigle said Tuesday.

The pair made an initial appearance Tuesday in court in Everett and were returned to the prison, where they are being held in the Washington State Reformatory’s segregation unit, Daigle said.

Work camp officials discovered the escape at 9:12 p.m. during a routine count, he said.

"We think the area they left in was a blind area that you really can’t see when it’s dark," Daigle said.

Prison officials will review lighting, sensory devices and other security measures to determine what changes need to be made.

The two men obtained a snipping tool, cut metal ties under a fence and crawled to freedom, Daigle said. They allegedly stole a vehicle from a residence in Monroe and fled the city. Several minutes later, they were stopped and arrested without incident at Highway 9 and U.S. 2, Daigle said.

The King County inmate was scheduled for release March 7, and the Clark County man in 2003, Daigle said.

In addition to new criminal charges, the two will face administrative disciplinary hearings through the prison, where they also will be charged with escape, he said.

Prisoners at the minimum security facility have escaped previously from work detail, but "but nobody’s ever left out of the compound," Daigle said.

The men were outdoors during a normal time allowed for smoking and strolling the compound.

You can call Herald Writer Cathy Logg at 425-339-3437

or send e-mail to logg@heraldnet.com.

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