Police News

Escaped Prisoner Captured in Somerville Near Medford Border

James Morales– Marc Levy, CambridgeDay.com

An escaped federal prisoner was captured in Somerville on Thursday afternoon, and has been confirmed as the man who attempted a bank robbery in Central Square that morning and a second one in Somerville that afternoon, Cambridge police and FBI officials are saying.

The FBI’s Violent Crimes Task Force and police responded before noon to an attempted robbery at the Bank of America at 727 Massachusetts Ave., where the would-be robber passed a note just before 9:30 a.m. “but did not manage to obtain any money,” said Jeremy Warnick, director of communications and media relations for Cambridge police. The teller receiving the note hit an alarm, notifying security and police, and the would-be robber fled.

Investigators were looking at the possibility the robber was former Cambridge resident and Army reservist James Walter Morales, 35, who escaped the Donald W. Wyatt Detention Facility in Central Falls, R.I., on Saturday. Morales is believed to have climbed a basketball hoop to a rooftop, then cut through fencing to climb through razor wire surrounding the prison. Officials believe he stole a car out of a nearby parking lot and drove to Massachusetts.

The suspicions were confirmed upon Morales’ arrest in Somerville. As of 4:30 p.m., he was being booked at the State Police barracks in Medford.

Morales was spotted by State Police trooper on Broadway after a second attempted bank robbery in Somerville, according to State Police. Then spotted near Route 28 and Mystic Avenue, Morales ran and a trooper pursued on foot for about two blocks. The trooper arrested Morales as he tried to jump a fence in the Foss Park neighborhood.

“Outstanding work by all federal, local and state agencies involved in this investigation,” the agency said via Twitter. “Great cooperative effort.”

Morales has been charged with stealing 16 guns from an Army Reserve Center and faces child rape charges. The U.S. Marshals Service considers him armed and dangerous.

He was described as black, approximately 5-foot-10, with a mustache and husky build. He was wearing a black jacket, gray sweatshirt, black knit cap and black sneakers. Morales, a resident of Columbia Street in The Port neighborhood, has a tattoo on his left hand of a crown with the name “Sherrell” and a tattoo on the right hand saying “king,” as well as a large, stylized eagle tattoo on the left side of his neck and was bald at the time of his escape.

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