LACEY TOWNSHIP, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — An inmate who authorities said escaped from a minimum security prison in New Jersey last week is back in custody after being found in a wooded area along the Garden State Parkway.
Lacey Township police said that a motorist reported seeing someone in the woods Monday along the northbound lane on the east side of the parkway near mile marker 76.5.
That’s when Detective Keith Pearce, who had been stationed at the Forked River rest area, tracked 38-year-old Arthur Buckel down nearby and held him at gunpoint until a state corrections officer took him into custody, police said.
Authorities said he did not resist and appeared fatigued, WCBS 880’s Kelly Waldron reported.
Buckel was then turned over to state officials at the scene and was transported to the New Jersey State Prison in Trenton.
“The apprehension of inmate Buckel would not have been possible without the hard work and dedication of several law enforcement agencies involved, including various units of the New Jersey Department of Corrections, the New Jersey State Police, the United States Marshal Service and several local law enforcement agencies,” New Jersey Department of Corrections Commissioner Gary Lanigan said in a statement.
The manhunt for Buckel intensified Monday after he was seen late Sunday night at the rest area.
“A motorist pulled up into the rest stop stated that he believed he observed a subject in the woods just north of their location in east side of parkway,” Lacey Township Police Chief David Paprota said.
Lacey police released surveillance photos of Buckel walking inside the rest stop. They said he was seen wearing a grey, long-sleeve sweatshirt, grey shorts and work boots with what appeared to be a knapsack slung over his chest.
Lacey police said state troopers and Buckel’s family were making arrangements for him to turn himself in at the rest area, but he was gone when state police arrived, CBS2’s Meg Baker reported.
Buckel was discovered missing last Tuesday when guards did a count in the Ancora unit of Bayside State Prison in Hammonton. He was just three weeks from becoming eligible for parole for aggravated assault.
On May 5, one day after his escape, Buckel was caught on camera shopping at a CVS pharmacy in Barneget Township, nearly 75 miles from the prison.
Since then, the search for him throughout southern New Jersey was expansive with police utilizing resources on land and in the air in an effort to catch Buckel, CBS2’s Magdalena Doris reported.
Police said he fled after being caught on camera in that CVS and dumping his pickup truck in the parking lot.
Officials said more than 800 acres of mostly wooded areas was searched and they wouldn’t have been successful without the quick-thinking motorist.
Buckel has been serving a sentence for aggravated assault, drug possession and burglary. He previously served 14 years in prison after pleading guilty to aggravated manslaughter of a 10-month-old child.
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