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Inmate Escapes Through Kitchen Food Slot

Richard Sasse escaped from medium-security in Watsonville on Thursday night.

Police across the Central Coast are on the hunt for Richard Sasse, a 28-year-old man that escaped from medium-security jail in Watsonville on Thursday night.

Sasse is part of a cafeteria work crew, and was able to use his access to the staff lounge to flee at 11 p.m. Thursday, Sheriff's Deputy April Skalland told Patch. As part of the privileged work crew, Skalland said Sasse could buzz himself in and out of the cafeteria to the staff lounge.

He rigged the door to the staff lounge so that could use it without buzzing in, allowing himself to go in unnoticed. From there, Skalland said he crawled through the food slot into the kitchen and walked out the unguarded kitchen exit. The food slot is what staff uses to return dishes and food to the kitchen. According to Skalland, it's about 18 inches by 18 inches. 

Although he made his break at 11 p.m. Thursday, his absence wasn't noticed until a lunchtime head count at 11 a.m. Friday, giving Sasse a 12-hour headstart on authorities. According to Skalland, he is six feet tall, 150 pounds and has brown hair and blue eyes. His residence is listed as being in Salinas, so Skalland said it's possible he headed south.

Sasse was being held on pending robbery charges. He had yet to be sentenced at the time of his escape. 

Anyone with information on Sasse or his whereabouts should call 911 or contact the Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office at 831-454-2311 or the anonymous tip line at 831-454-2847.

David H. Perez July 07, 2012 at 12:52 AM
Pending robbery charges? Do we have our information a little incomplete here? An electronic breaking news alert I received from the Register Pajaronian says this "cockaroach" has has been in custody since February 3, facing trial on charges of robbery, possession of narcotics and drug paraphernalia, carrying a concealed weapon, possession of a stolen loaded firearm, carjacking and burglary. So what kind of jail screening official employing an approved risk assessment instrument determined that this guy was eligible for a "medium security" jail??? Now this guy may be wandering around in our community. Thanks!
Jennifer Squires July 07, 2012 at 04:37 AM
Second jail break in a month. Sounds like it's time to rethink some procedures.
Lois Klein July 07, 2012 at 04:49 AM
Thanks for filling in the gaps, Mr. Perez. It seems to me that the multiple cases against this escapee would put him in the facility with the highest security...... Why do you think areas in the facility weren't monitored with motion detector equipment, at all times? That's not exactly cutting edge stuff.... Probably we'll hear that overcrowding was behind the decision, but money could have been, too. Nothing should prevent retreads like Sassefrom being kept where they can't harm the community. Come on, retired peace officers. What's your take on this?
David H. Perez July 07, 2012 at 04:59 PM
Lois, you pose some excellent questions and concerns. I would love to hear an official from our jail facility make a statement to the public explaining the justification for putting Sasse in medium security, then allowing him the opportunity to escape. That won't happen, of course. But is this a jail, or a group home??? Now you and I run the risk of being victimized by this guy. Nice.
David H. Perez July 07, 2012 at 05:00 PM
Yeah, do ya think?

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