Colorado authorities recapture four-time escapee
DENVER (AP) – An inmate who made his fourth escape by fleeing a maximum-security prison in northeast Colorado two months before he would have been eligible for parole was recaptured Wednesday in a cornfield about 45 miles away, authorities said.
Douglas J. Alward, 48, was arrested near the town of Yuma. No details were immediately available.
He was serving a 20- to- 40-year sentence at the Sterling Correctional Facility for attempted murder, assault, burglary and kidnapping when he escaped Sunday.
The prison is about 100 miles northeast of Denver and about 45 miles northwest of where he was captured.
Authorities had described Alward as extremely dangerous. His previous escapes involved kidnappings and a shootout with police.
Colorado Department of Corrections spokeswoman Katherine Sanguinetti said authorities had been going door-to-door in towns and rural areas near Sterling in their search for him.
“He planned an elaborate escape from prison,” Denver FBI spokesman Dave Joly said. “He appears to be intelligent, resourceful and motivated.”
Sanguinetti said prison officials aren’t saying how Alward escaped and are investigating whether he had help. She said he could not have simply walked away because of high security.
Authorities were offering a $15,000 reward for information leading to Alward’s capture. It wasn’t immediately known whether anyone tipped authorities to his whereabouts.
Alward was first incarcerated in 1980 for a conviction of attempted first-degree murder, assault and burglary. He escaped from Buena Vista Correctional Facility in southern Colorado on Dec. 2, 1980, by running from a prison bus with an inner tube and jumping into the Arkansas River, Sanguinetti said.
Officials caught him a short time later as he floated downstream.
On Aug. 22, 1985, Alward escaped from the Colorado Territorial Facility. Sanguinetti said he broke into a kitchen storage area and escaped through a hole in the wall. He used some boards and a rope to scale a prison wall, broke into a state transportation building, stole a dump truck and crashed it through a gate.
He was caught about five weeks later in Arizona, though Sanguinetti did not immediately have details of his capture.
On July 7, 1991, Alward was at the Fremont County Jail for a court appearance when he and another inmate overpowered a guard and stole the deputy’s 9 mm service weapon. Alward and the accomplice kidnapped a 19-year-old woman and released her in Colorado Springs, about 40 miles away from the courthouse, Sanguinetti said.
Alward fled the state and was spotted about a week later in Idaho, where he fired shots at a policeman and kidnapped a man in Garden City. He was captured in Ontario, Ore., the next day following a police chase.
Alward would have been eligible for parole in October and had worked his way to a classification considered just below minimum risk.
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