PRI­SON ES­CAPE

COM­MU­NITY MEM­BERS AN­GERED THEY WERE NOT CON­TACTED AF­TER A MAN SNUCK OUT OF PRI­SON

Shepparton News - - FRONT PAGE - By BARCLAY WHITE

The Dhur­ringile com­mu­nity was an­gry af­ter res­i­dents were left in the dark about a pri­son es­capee who was on the loose in their neigh­bour­hood.

A prisoner snuck out of the min­i­mum-se­cu­rity Dhur­ringile pri­son early Satur­day, be­fore be­ing ap­pre­hended a few hours later.

But sev­eral com­mu­nity mem­bers were not in­formed of the es­cape, de­spite ex­ten­sive con­sul­ta­tions aimed at keep­ing peo­ple in­formed of break­outs.

In pre­vi­ous es­capes, nearby com­mu­nity mem­bers had been sent text mes­sages as soon as pri­son man­age­ment were aware of missing pris­on­ers.

It was a method that was de­vel­oped af­ter ex­ten­sive dis­cus­sions be­tween pri­son man­age­ment and the Dhur­ringile Com­mu­nity Ac­tion Group.

Group chair Frank Niglia said for the past few years peo­ple who opted in were quickly in­formed when­ever there was an es­cape.

‘‘As soon as you know some­thing has hap­pened you can take pre­cau­tions,’’ Mr Niglia said.

‘‘The Com­mu­nity Ac­tion Group has gone to a lot of trouble so that peo­ple in the com­mu­nity can feel safe in the event of an es­cape.’’

The es­capee, 27, al­legedly at­tempted to steal sev­eral cars in Tatura, be­fore suc­cess­fully steal­ing a car.

Af­ter al­legedly steal­ing tobacco and al­co­hol from a Tatura shop, he went back to Dhur­ringile and dumped the ve­hi­cle.

It was there where he al­legedly stole a sec­ond ve­hi­cle, a white Mit­subishi truck from a home in the Dhur­ringile area. Con­tin­ued page 5

The man was ar­rested by po­lice while he was in the truck on the Nagam­bie-Rush­worth Rd at just be­fore 8 am Satur­day.

He was ar­rested and will face Shep­par­ton Mag­is­trates’ Court this morn­ing on charges of es­cape, theft of mo­tor ve­hi­cles and bur­glary.

The fact a com­mu­nity mem­ber al­legedly had their ve­hi­cle stolen was some­thing that an­gered Mr Niglia, as it was some­thing the early warn­ing sys­tem was meant to pre­vent.

A num­ber of nearby neigh­bours of the pri­son were con­tacted di­rectly by pri­son au­thor­i­ties, but nei­ther Mr Niglia, or Dhur­ringile Com­mu­nity Ac­tion Group sec­re­tary Rachel Smith were con­tacted.

‘‘The com­mu­nity is sup­posed to be texted, so they can take ap­pro­pri­ate pre­cau­tions,’’ he said.

‘‘Peo­ple can make sure their doors are locked, we went to a lot of trouble for this and the pro­to­cols were not fol­lowed.’’

Cor­rec­tions Vic­to­ria was con­tacted for com­ment.

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