CAPS client escapes

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A man convicted of a dangerous weapons charge walked away from a prison work-release program in Craig on Thursday.

He also had a previous escape charge.

Charles Edward Yoder, 40, had been in Correctional Alt--ernative Pla-cement Services in Craig since May before he walked away Thursday, a spokesman for the privately run program said.

CAPS director Cindy Talkington on Thursday refused to comment on the escape.

But William Palatucci, a spokesman for the program's parent company, New Jersey-based Community Education Centers, confirmed that Yoder left the facility at Fourth and Ranney streets in Craig on Thursday morning.

CAPS is a private company, but it contracts with the Department of Corrections to provide transitional housing and work-release programs for inmates.

Yoder's booking sheet from the Moffat County jail lists him as 6 feet 1 inch tall and 180 pounds. He has a goatee, short hair and tattoos on his arms and sides.

Yoder, who is originally from Sacramento, Calif., was in CAPS on a weapons charge and an escape charge from 1995, a Colorado Department of Corrections spokesman said. The previous charges were from Mesa County.

Yoder "graduated" from the CAPS resident program to the nonresident program on Nov. 4, Palatucci said. The graduation meant Yoder had more freedom to leave the facility.

But on Nov. 11, Yoder did not check in and was arrested and booked into Moffat County Jail on charges of violating the terms of his parole, Palatucci said. He later was released and returned to the resident program.

Less than a week after being arrested and put back into the relative freedom of the CAPS program, Yoder escaped again.

Craig police spokesman Capt. Jerry DeLong said the department is aware Yoder escaped and will keep an eye out for him. But DeLong said it was a Department of Corrections case.

DeLong said it was a possibility Yoder was involved in the theft of a truck from a local nonprofit Thursday but declined to call him a suspect.

CAPS has had other escapes in the past year. Two escapees, Steven Skaggs and Michael Holton, both 22, have been on the run for more than seven months.

But despite Yoder's escape and the other escapes, Palatucci said he thinks CAPS is a "pretty tight ship."

"There have been a couple of incidents, but we think they are isolated," he said.

Palatucci commended CAPS staff for notifying authorities immediately after they noticed Yoder was missing.

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