Police Re-Capture Escaped Inmate

Phillip Ruddy

ELIZABETH—A week after he escaped from guards while on trash duty at the Union County Jail, Phillip Ruddy was captured, Union County Prosecutor Theodore J. Romankow announced Monday.

Ruddy’s father, who is on parole, notified his parole officer that Ruddy was at a house on Eagle Street in Newark, said Romankow. Officers went to the location just after 5 p.m. on July 6 and found Ruddy hiding in the basement.

Ruddy was subsequently charged with third degree escape and ordered held without bail. He will be lodged at the Union County Jail and a first appearance on the escape charge had not been set at press time.

“This is a successful end to a determined effort,” said Union County Police Chief Daniel Vaniska. “Several law enforcement departments on the municipal, county and state level contributed to this investigation.”

Ruddy, 21, of Rahway, was first admitted to the jail on June 1 for a parole violation. Due to his low risk status, at the time, was put to work at the jail complex. One of his duties included supervised trash removal on Elizabethtown Plaza.

Just after midnight on Monday June 29, Ruddy and another inmate were emptying trash in the plaza when, according to the investigation, he ran off. The corrections officer supervising the pair secured the other inmate and radioed for backup.

There have been a number of improvements made to the jail’s security protocols in recent years, noted Romankow, however in lieu of Ruddy’s escape, authorities have launched a new investigation into the jail and its personnel.

“This case does not end here,” said Romankow. “There will be a full review and a fresh look at the jail’s policies and procedures.”

This remains an active investigation, Romankow said and prosecutors are not yet able to speak to a motive for the escape.

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