Police seek inmate who escaped work release

An inmate who was let out on work release failed to report back to jail Thursday, Moffat County Sheriff's Office Sgt. Ken Uecker said.

Paul Mendoza, 39, was on his second day of a six-month work-release program at the jail.

Jail officials said Mendoza was working at Casa Loya, but owner Sandra Loya said the man was never hired at her restaurant. Loya said Mendoza had asked for a job, but she declined to hire him.

Mendoza was sentenced to the work-release program by a judge in lieu of jail time. He was charged with driving after having his license revoked and driving without proof of insurance.

Police have issued a warrant for the man's arrest. If caught, Mendoza will face a felony charge of es----cape, Uecker said.

Inmates can be sentenced to work release if they have steady jobs that earn more than the jail costs of about $50 a day and if they qualify for the sentence, as determined by a judge.

Work-release inmates have to report to the jail each night.

Uecker said Mendoza is not considered dangerous.

"If he was dangerous, he probably wouldn't be out on work release," he said.

This is the first time a work-release client has not returned to the jail, Uecker said. Five inmates currently are working in the program, he said.

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