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Subject arrested in escape incident

Published: Wednesday, July 16, 2014 10:15 a.m. CST • Updated: Thursday, July 17, 2014 7:56 a.m. CST
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(Sandy Bressner – sbressner@shawmedia.com)
Elgin Police search for a prisoner who escaped from the Elgin Mental Health Center Wednesday afternoon near Seneca Street and Dundee Avenue in Elgin.
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Elgin police posted this photo of Jesse Vega on the department's Facebook page

Jesse Vega, 33, of the 5000 block of West Higgins Ave., 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, states a news release from the Elgin Police Department.

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 prior 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 located at Summit Street and Dundee Avenue in Elgin, the release states.

Elgin police, in conjunction with multiple jurisdictions and more than 50 officers, conducted an exhaustive search for Vega. About 4 p.m., an alert citizen in the 400 block of Prospect Avenue reported hearing noise in her backyard and saw Vega hail a cab that happened to be in the area, the release states. 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 at 150 Dexter Court in Elgin on Thursday morning. The Elgin Police Department thanked the citizens of Elgin, along with the numerous law enforcement agencies that were involved in the incident, for their efforts and cooperation.

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