Two escape from LaPorte work release center

2012-07-16T12:16:00Z 2012-07-16T23:56:06Z Two escape from LaPorte work release centerBy Stan Maddux Times Correspondent
July 16, 2012 12:16 pm  • 

LAPORTE | Two men escaped from the work release center in LaPorte and authorities Monday were still looking for one of them.

"A lot of times in these situations they are out for awhile but we end up catching up with them and getting them back into custody," LaPorte County Community Corrections Director Dick Buell said.

Police were alerted when two men jumped from the second floor window at the facility at 500 Monroe St. just after 3 a.m. Sunday.

John Zupko, 23, of LaPorte, was soon captured after being found five blocks east of the facility in an Adams Street alley, according to LaPorte County Sheriff's Department officials.

He was taken to IU Health LaPorte Hospital with a possible broken foot.

Officers continued searching the area but were unable to locate Randall Madaras, 21, of Springville.

Buell said the window was opened by removing a screw holding it shut. He said Madaras leaped from the open window to a nearby telephone pole and grabbed it to lower himself to the ground. Zupko also tried grabbing the pole after jumping out the window, but was not able to hang on, police said.

Last August, Aaron Smith and Ryan Baxter escaped when a foot locker was thrown through a second floor window. A 911 dispatcher was notified but police were not informed right away.

Smith was found dead within a few hours in Michigan City from a drug overdose.

The procedure now requires police be alerted of an escape at the work release center immediately, which helped in Zupko's quick apprehension, Buell said, adding offenders on work release are low risk individuals who leave to go to work and return to the facility.

He said the structure is a ''semi-secure'' facility that is old and not designed for housing offenders, who can be sent back to jail or even prison if they violate the rules of work release. There are plans to construct a new work release center that would be single story with offenders having no access to windows.

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