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VENTURA COUNTY NEWS

Escaped Inmate Arrested at Ventura Home

November 24, 2000|GAIL DAVIS | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

VENTURA — A Ventura County Jail inmate who escaped earlier this month, allegedly by switching identification wristbands with another prisoner scheduled for release, was recaptured Wednesday at the home of a former girlfriend, authorities said.

Johnny Caro, 18, who escaped before a court appearance on drug possession charges, was spotted arriving in a vehicle at the home on North Olive Street in west Ventura, about 11:30 p.m., authorities said. Sheriff's deputies had been watching the home for several days.

After Caro left the home, deputies pulled his car over and arrested him, along with two other occupants who were wanted on outstanding warrants, authorities said.

Caro escaped Nov. 6 from the pre-sentence facility at the County Government Center by allegedly threatening another inmate with bodily harm if he didn't switch his county-issued plastic identification wristband, officials said.

The wristbands are supposed to be removed only by cutting them off, sheriff's officials said, but somehow the two prisoners switched bands and Caro was released.

Sheriff's 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.

Caro, a Ventura resident, was never considered a safety threat to the public, officials said.

Authorities estimate about 250 inmates a day are transferred or released from the County Jail, and about 30,000 bookings are processed through the jail each year.

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