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Escaped prisoner back in Elgin police custody

Published: Wednesday, July 16, 2014 11:45 p.m. CST • Updated: Thursday, July 17, 2014 12:16 a.m. CST
(Sandy Bressner – sbressner@shawmedia.com)
Elgin police search for a prisoner who escaped from the Elgin Mental Health Center on Wednesday afternoon near Seneca Street and Dundee Avenue in Elgin. Jesse Vega, 33, was taken back into custody and is scheduled for a fitness hearing on Thursday.

Jesse Vega, 33, of the 5000 block of West Higgins Avenue, Chicago, is in the custody of Elgin police after he escaped from Elgin Mental Health Center staff while being transported to court in Lake County, according to a news release from the Elgin Police Department.

At about 8 a.m. Wednesday, Elgin police received a phone call from Elgin Mental Health Center staff who reported that Vega escaped from their custody while being transported to Lake County for a court hearing on previous felony charges, states the release. Vega, who was reported to be handcuffed at the time, escaped from the transport van when it stopped at a gas station at Summit Street and Dundee Avenue in Elgin, the release said.

Elgin police, in conjunction with multiple jurisdictions and more than 50 officers, conducted an exhaustive search for Vega. At about 4 p.m., an alert resident in the 400 block of Prospect Avenue reported hearing noise in her backyard and saw Vega hail a cab in the area, the release said. The cab driver, who previously received an alert regarding Vega, intentionally stalled him long enough for officers to arrive and take Vega into custody, states the release.

In an effort to retrieve Vega, the Elgin Police Department had posted alerts on social media after 9 a.m. Wednesday. The alerts advised that people should call 911 if they see him, and they warned, "DO NOT approach." That post had been shared 2,830 times as of 4:40 p.m. Wednesday.

In a video, Elgin Police Chief Jeff Swoboda credited "community input" and "all of you on social media." The Kane County State's Attorney's Office has authorized one count of escape, a Class 2 felony, and Vega will appear during Kane County bond call Thursday morning at 150 Dexter Court in Elgin.

The Elgin Police Department thanked the residents of Elgin, along with the numerous law enforcement agencies that were involved in the incident, for their efforts and cooperation.

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