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STAR Team catches third jail escapee in Manteca

The last of three prisoners who escaped last week from the John Latorraca Correctional Facility has been caught.

Deputy Tom MacKenzie, Merced County Sheriff's Department spokesman, said Richard Ray Perry 28, was arrested in Manteca by the Sheriff's Tactical and Reconnaissance Team.

Following information they obtained, deputies Kevin Blake and Dustin Witt of the Sheriff's STAR Team were in the San Joaquin County area looking for Perry when they were contacted by the Manteca Police Department.

Perry had just run from a Manteca police officer while he was conducting a suspicious vehicle check. Perry, the driver of the vehicle, began running as the officer approached, leaving an unidentified male passenger in the car. Inside the vehicle was a loaded .357 caliber handgun. A perimeter was quickly established and a search began.

MacKenzie said just a couple hours after the initial contact, Perry was discovered in the 1800 block of Yosemite Avenue. Blake said they were fairly confident that Perry was still in the area and had spoken to several merchants and residents informing them of the ongoing search.

A short while later employees from a car dealership flagged down the deputies and said they saw Perry across the street. A short foot pursuit ensued and ended when Perry was struck by a Taser behind a fitness center.

Perry, 28, was the third of three escapees who bolted Jan. 21 from the John Latorraca Correctional Facility. He was serving a sentence for identify theft, receiving stolen property and parole violation. Donald Stephenson, 45, caught Sunday afternoon by Blake near McKee and Stretch roads, was serving time for parole violation and theft charges. Christopher Daniels, 28, arrested a week ago in a Turlock porta-potty, was serving time for theft and parole violation.

Associate Editor Doane Yawger can be reached at 209 385-2485 or dyawger@mercedsun-star.com.

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