Bangor inmate released in error

Posted Feb. 22, 2010, at 9:33 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — An inmate walked out of Penobscot County Jail early Saturday after his paperwork mistakenly indicated he was to be set free. He was found a short time later and returned to jail, Chief Deputy Troy Morton of the Penobscot County Sheriff’s Department said Monday.

“We did have an incident,” he said. “It’s not too bad. Peter McCaffrey, 38, of Bangor was released due to a technical error in his paperwork.”

McCaffrey was arrested and charged with two counts of felony burglary during the fall for a rash of burglaries on the city’s west side. He has been unable to make his bail, set in December at $3,000 cash or $25,000 surety.

He was released erroneously from Penobscot County Jail at 6:30 a.m. Saturday, Morton said.

“After the issue was noticed, within a short time of his leaving, he was picked up,” he said.

McCaffrey was on the streets for just a “few hours” and was actually working at a local business when Penobscot County deputies found him Saturday morning, Morton said.

Because McCaffrey was not a high-risk inmate and because he was found so quickly, jail officials decided a public announcement was not necessary, Morton said.

“Had this been someone we weren’t able to find, or a public danger, we would have issued a notice,” he said.

It is uncommon for an inmate to be released mistakenly from the Bangor jail, which handled more than 6,500 new inmates in the last year, Morton said.

“I don’t have a number,” he said. “It’s very rare.”

The jail, which is designed to handle 132 inmates, has been operating for several years under a Department of Corrections variance that allows it to house up to 50 extra inmates.

There were 167 inmates at the jail on Monday, Morton said.

Over the weekend, “we had 30 new inmates in a 24-hour period,” he said. Of those, “we had 27 who had to go to court” on Monday.

McCaffrey, who returned to confinement without argument, told court officials in December that he is employed by a catering company at Bangor International Airport and pays child support for two children.

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