SWAT team nabs escapee

Posted Dec. 03, 2009, at 5:30 p.m.

SCARBOROUGH, Maine — A prisoner who escaped almost two weeks ago from Bolduc Correctional Facility in Warren was caught Thursday afternoon hiding in the woods near Scarborough.

Clifford Perkins, 26, of Old Orchard Beach, was unarmed and put up “no resistance” as members of the Southern Maine Regional SWAT team arrested him about 1:30 p.m.

“He covered himself up with leaves and pieces of trees to try and hide,” said Sgt. John O’Malley of the Scarborough Police Department. “But our guys were able to see his hands between the twigs.”

The regional SWAT team comprises 25 officers from the Portland, Scarborough and Cape Elizabeth police departments, O’Malley said. They were joined in the hunt by four canine teams, a tactical team from the Maine State Prison and two Maine State Police officers. A state police airplane buzzed overhead during the search, said Maine State Police Lt. Gerard Madden.

“There was speculation he was armed,” Madden said.

But only a small camping knife was found in Perkins’ camp, O’Malley said.

Maine State Prison officials received a tip Thursday morning that Perkins had made a camp in the woods off Route 22 close to a Scarborough trailer park, according to a press release from Department of Corrections Associate Commissioner Denise Lord.

Perkins had relatives living in the trailer park, O’Malley said.

The inmate had escaped on Nov. 21 from the minimum-security correctional facility known as “the farm.” He will be returned to the Maine State Prison, which is not a minimum-security location, Madden said.

“There were lots of hours and lots of time invested in this,” Madden said. “For the last two weeks, the state police and local police in various neighborhoods have all been looking for him.”

Investigators spoke with Perkins’ friends and tried to determine his hangouts, Madden said.

The escaped inmate likely will face additional charges, he said, adding that Perkins is suspected of having stolen some vehicles.

A pickup truck was stolen in Warren the same weekend that Perkins escaped. That truck was found abandoned a week later in Bristol, and a truck stolen in Bristol was just located in southern Maine, Madden said.

Perkins originally had been serving time for burglary and eluding an officer, among other convictions, and had been due for release in 2011, said Denise Lord, associate commissioner of the Maine Department of Corrections.

He was the third Bolduc inmate to escape in November. Arden Shaw, 36, and Robert Fogg, 28, were caught Nov. 13 in Westerly, R.I., a week after they walked away from Bolduc, which has no fences.

Lord said after Perkins made his escape that Bolduc officials were stepping up inmate screening and examining the level of supervision that is available there.

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