Rhode Island authorities are trying to determine how a former Army reservist, awaiting trial for allegedly stealing guns, managed to escape a detention center on New Year’s Eve and go unnoticed for hours before he was caught five days later, reports the Wall Street Journal. A Massachusetts State Police trooper captured James Morales, 35, near Boston on Thursday. He is suspected of trying to rob two banks during the manhunt. Morales broke out of a maximum-security center for federal detainees on New Year’s Eve while awaiting trial on charges of stealing machine guns and pistols from an Army Reserve facility in Worcester, Ma. The Wyatt Detention Facility in Central Falls, R.I., suspended three guards and a supervisor while the escape is investigated.
Morales had been in the Wyatt facility for more than a year. Authorities say he escaped by climbing onto a basketball hoop in the outdoor recreation area, pushing through a hole in the fence and jumping up onto the detention center roof. He shimmied down the side of the building and ran to nearby train tracks, which he followed for about a mile before reaching Interstate 95. Jail officials did not miss Morales for four hours, until he was absent at an evening bed count. The Wyatt facility is a maximum-security facility built to house as many as 770 federal detainees.