• Inmate climbed basketball hoop, scaled fence to escape, police say

    By: Fox25Boston.com


    CENTRAL FALLS, R.I. - Federal officials say a former Army reservist charged with stealing 16 guns from a U.S. Army Reserve Center in Worcester escaped from a Rhode Island detention center Saturday night.

    Thirty-five-year-old James Walker Morales was discovered missing from the Wyatt Detention Center at 11:30 p.m. and later is presumed to have stolen a car in Attleboro and fled the area. 

    U.S. Marshal Jamie Hainsworth says the Cambridge, Massachusetts, native scaled a building and climbed over razor wire to escape. He added that officials believe Morales is wounded and bleeding from the razor wire. Dan Martin, the warden at the Wyatt Detention Center, said Morales climbed up on a basketball hoop before cutting through the fence.

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    Morales was last accounted for at a 7 p.m. head count Saturday. The last escape at the Wyatt Detention Center was in 1996. Two individuals assigned to the area Morales escaped from have been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of an internal investigation.

    Morales is described as a 6-foot-1-inch, 180-pound African-American with brown eyes and black hair. The marshals say Morales also has a large eagle tattoo on the left side of his neck and was bald at the time of his escape Saturday night. 

    Police say U.S. marshals tracked Morales into Massachusetts and found his discarded prison clothing. Marshals said Morales stole a car from the parking lot at a BK Mart on Route One in Attleboro Saturday night. 

    A witness at the BK Mart said when he saw Morales, he thought he was waiting for someone. 

    "The whole time I came in he was just leaning and waiting on the car so I thought he was just waiting for the girl to come out," Jeff Brittingham said.

    However, Brittingham said when the woman came out of the store, it was clear they weren't acquainted. 

    "The car was running he jumped in the car and drove off, she jumped on the hood and he just kept going with her," he said. 

    The green Chevy Lumina with a Rhode Island license plate was recovered Sunday afternoon. Police would not say where the car was found and said Morales is still at large. 

    Some visitors to Wyatt Correctional Facility told FOX25 they were turned away because the facility was in lockdown Sunday morning and that no visitors would be allowed. 

    Authorities urge anyone who spots the suspect to call 911.

    The FBI says Morales stole six assault rifles and 10 handguns from the Lincoln Stoddard Army Reserve Center in Worcester in 2015.

    He also faces unrelated state child rape charges.

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