WEST WARWICK â€“ Rhode Island and Massachusetts state police departments are searching for an inmate who escaped while on work release in West Warwick.
The incident occurred on Tuesday afternoon at 3:30, according to Capt. Michael Winquist of the Rhode Island State Police. He explained that the inmate, Jonathan Michaels, 39, of 14 Daniels Rd., Charlton, Mass., was on unsupervised work detail at the West Warwick Senior Center when a witness spotted him jump into the bed of a pickup truck.
Michaels has been serving time at the Adult Correctional Institute in Cranston on a two-year sentence for possessing a stolen vehicle. He was scheduled to be released in September of 2013.
Michaels is described by police as 5 foot, 9 inches, 190 pounds, medium build, brown hair and brown eyes. He has a tattoo of a cross on his left arm. Michaels was last seen wearing a white T-shirt, khaki pants and work boots.
The vehicle he was seen fleeing the senior center is described as a black pickup truck with Massachusetts registration. According to witnesses, a male and female were inside the truck at the time of the incident.
According to Winquist, police â€śare exploring all leads.â€ť He stated that they are in the process of reviewing Michaelâ€™s previous visitors, his phone records and looking into anyone with association to him. Rhode Island State Police are also working closely with the Massachusetts State Police as Michaelâ€™s had continued to foster â€śheavy tiesâ€ť with the state.
Police have drafted a warrant for Michaelâ€™s arrest on charges of escaping from a correctional facility, which is a felony offense. According to Winquist, a felony charge could carry a sentence of over one year imprisonment or $1,000 fine, the minimum sanction. He stated that the details of the additional charges and potential sentencing would be up to a judgeâ€™s determination.
Anyone with information on Michaelâ€™s whereabouts can contact the Rhode Island State Police at 444-1000.