Atlanta

Feds: Inmates escape Atlanta prison, return with contraband

ATLANTA — Inmates have been escaping from the U.S. Penitentiary in southeast Atlanta and returning with contraband, according to a federal complaint.

The prisoners are allegedly sneaking out through a hole in a fence and bringing back items like liquor, cigarettes and cellphones to sell to other prisoners.

Documents said the inmates would get into cars waiting for them on New Town Circle.

Sources close to the case tell Channel 2 Action News that the feds zeroed in on escapees after an Atlanta police officer spotted four men dressed in all gray and wearing black ski masks and gloves near the perimeter of the prison in January of 2013.

Last month, officials said APD put a camera up to monitor the grounds before handing the video over to the feds.

Authorities caught an inmate trying to get out of the prison last Friday, which led to the federal complaint filing the next day.

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Nearby residents said they do not feel safe knowing this is going on.

“I don’t know how we are going to be safe or how I’m going to try to keep us safe,” Ebony Ricks said.

Ricks lives in an apartment complex across the street from the prison on McDonough Boulevard.

“I think they need to step it up and they owe us an explanation as to how they’re escaping,” Ricks said.

The case is still under investigation.

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