Chief: Escaped inmate did not resist when he was captured

AP News
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Posted: May 09, 2016 2:40 PM
Chief: Escaped inmate did not resist when he was captured

LACEY TOWNSHIP, N.J. (AP) — A minimum security prison inmate who escaped last week didn't resist and appeared fatigued when he was tracked down and taken into custody Monday after a motorist reported seeing him in a wooded area near a highway, officials said.

Arthur Buckel was located near the Garden State Parkway after a police officer and a state corrections officer tracked him down following the report from the motorist at a highway rest stop, Lacey Township police Chief David Paprota said. Buckel, who once served time for manslaughter for killing a baby, had been behind bars on assault, drug possession and burglary charges.

Paprota said Detective Keith Pearce, a 20-year veteran of the force, held Buckel at gunpoint while the corrections officer took him into custody about 20 yards into the woods.

"Most of us have not slept since Saturday night because this event started last evening, so we're all very tired, very fatigued and very glad that it is over," Paprota said.

Video from WPVI-TV shows about 20 officers surrounding a handcuffed Buckel sitting on a guardrail of the highway before they led him away. Buckel later was transported in a van to a state prison in Trenton, where he couldn't be reached for comment.

The state Department of Corrections said Buckel, 38, will be evaluated by its medical unit and then placed in a secure facility, where he will be interviewed by investigators to determine how he escaped.

Buckel, who would have been eligible for parole later this month, could receive an additional three to five years in prison for the escape. He also could be charged for other activities while he was a fugitive.

Buckel was seen on surveillance video late Sunday at a rest area off the Garden State Parkway, Lacey Township police said.

The state police said Buckel had indicated a desire to turn himself in and was making arrangements through his family to do so at the rest area. But he was gone by the time state troopers arrived, police said.

Authorities searched through the air, and armed officers combed through the wooded area because it was believed Buckel headed north on foot.

Paprota said he kept an officer stationed at the rest stop as a precaution in case he circled back.

"It worked out," Paprota said.

Buckel was missing when guards did a count at the Ancora unit of Bayside State Prison in Hammonton, about 50 miles southwest of Lacey Township, on May 3. He previously served 14 years in prison after pleading guilty to aggravated manslaughter in the death of a 10-month-old child.