(CAMBRIDGE, Mass.) — An inmate on the run after escaping from a federal prison in Rhode Island allegedly tried to rob a bank Thursday morning in Cambridge, Massachusetts, multiple law enforcement sources told ABC News.
James Morales, 35, escaped from the Donald W. Wyatt Detention Facility in Center Falls, Rhode Island, on New Year’s Eve, authorities said.
Thursday morning, Morales tried to rob a bank on Massachusetts Avenue in Cambridge, Massachusetts, which is about 50 miles north from the prison, law enforcement sources told ABC News.
Police said he passed a note to the teller demanding money shortly before 10 a.m. The suspect did not get any money, police said.
Cambridge police’s description of the robbery suspect matches a description of Morales.
“We do not have an identity of the suspect at this point in time,” Cambridge police said, but “investigators are looking at the possibility that the suspect generally fits the description” of Morales.
Morales was in federal custody for the “theft of numerous firearms from the Worcester Army Reserve Armory in 2015,” Massachusetts State Police said. He is also wanted “for an alleged violent and brutal sexual assault of a child,” police said.
Officials said Morales broke out of the prison by climbing a basketball hoop to reach a rooftop, cutting through a fence and then climbing through razor wire.
Jamie Hainsworth, U.S. Marshal for the district of Rhode Island, said Morales “has the potential to be dangerous and could be armed.” He urged anyone who encounters Morales not to approach him and to instead call 911.
Hainsworth said Tuesday that the priority for authorities is to catch Morales, but he also said officials would take a “hard look” at the procedures of the prison from which Morales escaped and investigate whether the community of Center Falls was appropriately notified of the escape. Morales was discovered to be missing by prison staff at 10 p.m. on Dec. 31 — about three hours after he escaped, according to Hainsworth.
Morales “may have suffered significant lacerations during his escape,” according to police. Authorities noted that he was last seen wearing “gray sweatpants, a gray sweatshirt and black sneakers,” and “had a beard at the time of the escape and has balding/shaved brown hair.”
Morales also has a “large tattoo of an eagle on the left side of his neck” and “additional tattoos on his chest, arms and hands,” Massachusetts State Police added.
Hainsworth urged anyone with information to call a hotline established by the U.S. Marshals Service at 1-800-336-0102.
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