Escaped SoCal Inmate Captured in Vista: Officials

At around 11:30 p.m. Wednesday, staffers discovered inmate Bobby Gleason, 37, was missing from Ventura Conservation Camp #46 in Ventura County

An inmate who escaped from a minimum-security facility in Southern California earlier this week has been captured north of San Diego County, officials confirmed.

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDRC) said escaped inmate Bobby Gleason, 37, was taken into custody Thursday afternoon in Vista – a community about 42 miles north of downtown San Diego.

Public information officer Robert Kelsey, of the Sierra Conservation Center, told NBC 7 Gleason was arrested by CDRC officers at around 6:30 p.m. after a short foot pursuit.

Kelsey said Gleason will be transferred back to Ventura County and referred for prosecution for the escape through the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office.

According to the CDRC, Gleason disappeared from the Ventura Conservation Camp #46 in Camarillo, California, Wednesday. Staffers discovered he was missing around 11:30 p.m. that night. Staffers searched the inmate dormitory area, surrounding buildings and the camp perimeter for Gleason, but he was nowhere to be found.

They alerted local law enforcement agencies of the inmate’s escape, the CDRC said, and efforts were launched to find and apprehend Gleason. He was described as a white male, 5-foot-10 and 160 pounds, with a shaved head, blue eyes and a mustache and goatee. He was last seen wearing grey sweats/shorts and a white T-shirt. He was also described as having multiple tattoos on his neck, hands, arms, legs and torso.

Officials said Gleason was committed to CDRC to serve nine years for crimes in San Diego County, including burglary as a second-time offender. Before his escape, he was scheduled to be released on Aug. 6, 2019.

According to the CDRC, the Ventura Camp facility was originally built in 1989 to house approximately 110 co-ed wards. The camp closed in December 2012, but reopened two years later housing only male inmates. The facility is maintained by both the CDRC and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL Fire).

All inmates at Ventura Camp are required to work and are paid for their labor, earning between $1.45 and $2.56 per day, depending on their skill level. Skilled inmates include mechanics, clerks, cooks, plumbers, welders, carpenters and electricians. Inmates can also work as fire crew, if they complete training at the Sierra Conservation Center led by both the CDRC and CAL Fire personnel. Inmates who work as part of the fire crew can earn up to $1 per hour.

Money earned by the inmates at the camp is placed into a trust account for their use, according to the CDRC. Inmates can use their money to buy items at the camp canteen, send it home to their family or save it until they’re released to parole.

Ventura Conservation Camp is located at 2800 Wright Road in Camarillo, which is about 154 miles north of Vista where Gleason was arrested.

Officials said that of all offenders who have escaped since 1977 from a CDRC adult institution, camp or community-based program, 98.7 percent have ultimately been apprehended.

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