Search is on for inmate who escaped from fire conservation camp

Search is on forinmate who escaped from fire conservation camp

5 February 2007

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San Diego, USA —  A 40-year-old prison inmate escaped from a fireconservation camp in Boulevard early Sunday morning, officials said.

David Griffis, who was serving a six-year prison sentence on drug charges,turned up missing during a routine head count at the McCain Valley ConservationCamp shortly after midnight Sunday.

“He basically walked away in the middle of the night. Those institutionsdon’t have fences around them. They can pretty much leave if they want to,”said Lt. Kenny Calhoun, a prison spokesman. “It is presumed he got a ride.”

Griffis, who is from the San Diego area, had been transferred to the fireconservation camp system around three months ago. He had been trained as awildland firefighter, Calhoun said.

The camp is considered a minimum-security prison. The inmates are screenedbefore they are selected for the fire crews. Only inmates convicted ofnonviolent offenses and in good physical condition can participate. Campofficials typically check to make sure all inmates are accounted for four timesa day.

“We don’t look at them as a significant risk to the public, but they are arisk to the public because they are an escapee and they are convicted felons,”Calhoun said. “We sent our people out looking for him and will continue tosearch for him.”

Griffis was last seen wearing gray sweatshirt and sweat pants and a fire campjacket when he escaped.

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