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Escaped Ex-Con Who Drove Off In Police Cruiser Recaptured

New York Daily News via YellowBrix

November 18, 2010

RIDGEFIELD, CT – The ex-con who pulled a Houdini, speeding away from police while still handcuffed, was arrested Thursday morning at a Connecticut hotel, police said.

This time, police said, Jose Rodriguez, 27, was taken into custody without incident when a slew of officers from the NYPD, Connecticut cops and members of a federal task force rolled up on a hotel in Uncasville, near the Mohegan Sun casino, at about 3:15 a.m.

Hours earlier, Rodriguez was arrested at a Holiday Inn in Fort Lee, N.J. Cops wanted to question him in the shooting of a man in the Bronx on Nov. 1.

A dozen or so cops at the initial scene – about 1:15 p.m. Wednesday – included three NYPD officers assigned to a regional fugitive task force.

But Rodriguez, rear-cuffed and his ankles shackled, took advantage of sloppy police work and gave authorities the slip.

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Jose Rodriguez

First he maneuvered his cuffed hands under his legs and slid into the front seat of the still-running unmarked police car in which he was being held.

Then he drove off, setting in motion a manhunt that stretched into Thursday morning.

Police found the car in Ridgefield, about 5 miles away. Inside were the leg shackles that Rodriguez got out of by using the handcuff key on the set of keys in the car.

Authorities flooded at least three leafy towns, including Palisades Park, Fort Lee and Ridgefield. They used a helicopter, cops on foot and even police dogs to search backyards. Some residents came home to worried warnings on their answering machines.

Rodriguez was nabbed early Thursday because of some sloppy work of his own – cops tracked his cell phone calls, a police source said.

Rodriguez has at least seven prior arrests, including possession of marijuana and robbery. Police said he also was wanted on a parole violation stemming from a drug-sale conviction.

A second police source said he was with an unidentified woman at the time of his escape. She was in custody after his daring dash, but wasn’t immediately charged with a crime.


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