Philly jailbreaks: 6 inmates have escaped in the last 6 years

Mug shots

Two murderers who escaped from a prison in upstate New York are still on the loose. Last week, a Philadelphia cab driver reported to police that he might have picked them up around Vine and then took them to 30th Street. That wasn’t the case, according to police. They were probably never here.

But the city has witnessed escaped prisoners. In the last several years, there have been three high-profile cases:

The Hurricane Sandy escape

Hurricane Sandy, October 29, 2012, knocked out power all over the city, including at the Community Education Center’s Hoffman Hall in North Philadelphia. Power went out for about 10 minutes. That was long enough for minimum-security inmates Rafael Zayas, Robert Collins, James Foulk and Erik Gomez to escape. All they had to do was walk out of door. Without the power, it was unlocked.

Unfortunately for them, being on the lam wasn’t nearly as easy as the actual escape. All of them except Gomez were caught within two weeks. Gomez lasted until the end of November. He was found at a Mexican restaurant on Passyunk Avenue.

The jewelry heist gone bad

The most serious recent escape happened in 2010, and it ended with the death of the inmate and a local jeweler.

Kevin Turner, 22, was at Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility, held for burglary and drug charges. He escaped on October 12, leaving during the middle of the night, sometime after the 3:45 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. headcounts. Turner worked in the kitchen, and he escaped using a food delivery vehicle.

He wasn’t heard from for about nine days. During that time, Turner had been stopping by William Glatz Jewelers in Lawncrest, basically casing the joint. He and accomplice Obina Onyiah attempted to rob the place on Oct. 21. A shootout ensued. Turner killed Glatz, and Glatz killed Turner. Onyiah got away but was later caught, charged and convicted.

The Thanksgiving escape

In November 2009, Oscar Alvarado became the first prisoner to escape from CFC prison. He had been held there since October 2008, awaiting murder charges. On Thanksgiving Day, he obtained a pass to the visitors’ room and then changed into regular street clothes. Alvarado then walked out of the prison like a normal person. Police caught him in mid-December at the Neshaminy Motor Inn.

Thanks for reading another Billy Penn story

Seems you’re the kind of person who really digs in. Want more? Sign up for our free morning newsletter, the easy way to stay on top of Philly news.

Thanks for reading Billy Penn

Like the story above, everything we publish is powered by our members. If you enjoy reading, join today: Just $5/month makes more difference than you’d think.

Thanks for reading! We need you.

Reader donations power our newsroom. If Billy Penn helps you feel more connected to Philly, we’d love to count you as a member. Will you join us?

Lock in your support

Reader support powers our newsroom. A monthly membership helps lock it in.

Can we count on you as a Billy Penn sustainer?

Winning the local journalism game

Thank you: Member support powers our newsroom.

Know someone else who might like our work? Invite them to sign up for our free morning newsletter.

Tagged

Jewelers Row