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Escapes in New Jersey, New York and California

November 22, 1988

Undated (AP) _ A double murderer who escaped from a 153-year-old prison in New Jersey by chipping through his cell and using a handmade ladder to scale a wall was recaptured Monday following a daylong search.

In California, four inmates who escaped from a jail with a rope made of knotted bed sheets were still at large, and in New York City, three foreign nationals who tried to break out of federal custody were captured early Monday on a rain-soaked parapet of the prison.

In Trenton, Gonzalo Marrero, 37, was caught about three blocks from the prison some 14 hours after his escape.

Search crews had used helicopters, and rifle-toting officers stood guard at blockaded streets, while others went door to door in some neighborhoods. Police also had stopped all New Jersey Transit trains in the early morning.

Marrero had scaled the prison’s outer wall about 4 a.m. using a rickety, handmade 19-foot ladder. Two other inmates apparently trying to escape with him had not yet climbed the ladder when they were spotted by a tower guard, officials said.

The three inmates apparently had chipped away at the wall of their ground- level cell for some time, probably for several weeks, said James Stabile, a spokesman for the state Department of Corrections.

They were housed in the prison’s oldest section, built in 1835, and once they chipped through the concrete they were able to push a stone out of the wall, he said.

Marrero was serving at least 60 years for the slayings of two people killed during a restaurant holdup in Union City. He also was convicted of related sexual assault, robbery and burglary charges, said Stabile.

In Santa Ana, Calif., authorities were searching for four inmates who escaped from the Orange County Jail.

Authorities were tipped to the escape about 8 p.m. Sunday when a Santa Ana resident reported seeing a man in a prison jumpsuit about a block away from the jail, said sheriff’s Lt. Richard Olson.

The four inmates were part of a recreation group meeting on the jail roof who cut a small hole in the security fence and scaled down the wall using the bed-sheet rope, he said.

And in New York, federal investigators were trying to find out how the foreign nationals got the hacksaw blade they used to saw through the bars and plastic window of an eighth-floor room.

They apparently used twine to drop to a fourth-floor setback of the building, said U.S. Marshal Romolo J. Imundi.

Marshals using a Fire Department ″cherry picker″ got the prisoners down.

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