Authorities are seeking a Ventura County Jail inmate who escaped Nov. 6, allegedly by switching armbands with another inmate scheduled for release.
Johnny Caro, 18, of Ventura, was awaiting trial on drug charges, said Eric Nishimoto, spokesman for the Ventura County Sheriff's Department. Caro is not considered to pose a safety threat to the public, he said.
Caro escaped from the pre-sentence facility at the County Government Center by threatening another inmate with bodily harm if he didn't switch plastic identification wristbands, which all inmates wear, Nishimoto said. The wristbands are supposed to be removed only by cutting them off, Nishimoto said, but somehow the two prisoners switched bands and Caro was released.
Sheriff's Department officials are investigating how the prisoners were able to remove the bands and why other checks, such as fingerprints and photograph identification, weren't carried out.
"The bottom line: It was a mistake on our part and we're reviewing the procedures," Nishimoto said.
Authorities estimate about 250 inmates a day are transferred or released from the jail and about 30,000 bookings come into the jail each year.