Police are on the hunt for an inmate who scaled the fence of a Maple Ridge prison on Saturday and remains at large.
Ajit Singh escaped from the Fraser Regional Correctional Center on 256th Street around noon.
Surveillance video captured him climbing over a tall, wired fence that surrounds the prison compound and making his way through a forest.
Police were called by corrections officials, but failed to locate Singh.
Ridge Meadows RCMP released information about his escape on Tuesday, after 2:30 p.m. – three days after Singh was reported missing.
B.C. Corrections said RCMP handle notifications after an escape. Ridge Meadows RCMP did not contact communication staff on Saturday to issue a media release.
Singh was serving time for obstructing a peace officer.
“He is not considered a high risk when it comes to violent behaviours,” said Cpl. Alanna Dunlop. “He has connections to the Vancouver area, and Vancouver City Police have been notified of his escape.”
Singh’s escape comes one day after Crown laid charges against the girlfriend of another man who fled from a prison work crew just before New Year’s Eve.
Angel Amy Alexander faces one count of assisting escape for helping her boyfriend, Douglas Erickson, 42, as well as David Traill, 48 and Ryan Plotnikoff, 30, slip away unnoticed from a crew working at the Allco fish hatchery on Dec. 30.
The trio were inmates at Fraser Regional, serving sentences for various crimes, including theft and break-ins.
Ridge Meadows RCMP allege Alexander drove the men out of Maple Ridge in her car.
She was arrested Jan. 25 at a house in Hope.
“With this case being before the courts, we are not in a position to discuss details of the case,” said Dunlop.
All three men have since been returned to custody.
An incident report from the men’s prison blames a miscommunication between staff during the hectic holiday season for aiding the men’s escape.
An email advising staff at Fraser Regional to shut down crews between Christmas and New Year was not sent to the officer in charge of inmates hired to work at tree farm, near the Alouette Dam.
The mistake resulted in two crews working at the Allco fish hatchery on Dec. 30, a group much larger than the one usually stationed at the site at the end of 248th Street.
An incident report, obtained by The News, notes corrections officers only realized they were missing after RCMP called the prison around 12:40 p.m. to report they had received a call from a person who saw three men in prison clothes getting into a car that drove away.
The men who escaped had been tallied an hour earlier during a formal count by corrections officers.
The report, prepared by FRCC assistant deputy warden Joanne Denis, found staff had followed prison procedure while on the work site, but pointed to an email for causing the mix-up.
Denis made three recommendations to prevent another escape:
• staff who do not work in the fisheries area should conduct regular frisks of site;
• fisheries work crew should be the only one stationed at the fish hatchery;
• clear directions should be given to all off-site work crews regarding work assignments;
• directions regarding departmental functions should be sent from the deputy warden to the assistant deputy warden, then distributed to all departments to eliminate any potential for ambiguity or miscommunication.
Ajit Singh is described as an South Asian man, 5-10, 180 pounds with a medium build, black hair, brown eyes with a scar on his right forearm (15 cm long). He was wearing prison clothing at the time of his escape.
• Anyone with any information is asked to call RCMP at 604-463-6251. To remain anonymous call CrimeStoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or leave a tip online at www.bccrimestoppers.com. CrimeStoppers will pay a reward of up to $2,000 for information leading to an arrest and conviction.