34-year-old Gino Hagenkotter is described as being 5'06", 140 lbs, brown eyes and grey hair
PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Authorities in Philadelphia are searching for an inmate who escaped from a prison facility in the Holmesburg section of the city on Thursday.
The man being sought has been identified as 34-year-old Gino Hagenkotter, an inmate at the Riverside Correctional Facility.
City officials say Hagenkotter was working in an orchard outside the nearby Philadelphia Industrial Correctional Facility on State Road when he left without permission.
Philadelphia Prisons Commissioner Blanche Carney said Hagenkotter was working by himself with one corrections officer accompanying him.
Carney said Hagenkotter asked the corrections officer for permission to use the restroom. When Hagenkotter didn't come back, the officer went to check the restroom and found Hagenkotter had fled.
Police believe Hagenkotter then hopped a fence and went through a Sanitation Department yard that is adjacent to the prison. Investigators have video of him going through a parking lot and then down the street toward Torresdale Avenue.
Investigators say video shows Hagenkotter had escaped by 11:48 a.m., Carney said. The corrections officer alerted the prison about the escape at 12:05 p.m.
He was seen in the video wearing a white shirt, dark pants and boots after ditching his orange prison suit, which was found on the facility grounds.
"He shedded some clothing so the dogs did their very best to set up a perimeter we had originally and try to search for him but with the video evidence we recovered, we think he got out of that perimeter," said Deputy Commissioner Frank Vanore, with Philadelphia Police Department
Hagenkotter is serving a sentence for charges related to theft and burglary and met the criteria to have an outside work assignment, according to a statement from the mayor's office.
"Although this individual was in minimum custody, he should not be approached and anyone who sees him or is contacted by him should immediately call the police," the statement continued.
Carney said Hagenkotter was at one point set to be released to a court-ordered housing program Thursday, but that was canceled after it was discovered he was wanted for retail theft in Bucks County.
"We believe that played a part in his decision to escape," Carney said.
Hagenkotter has been in court a number of times in both Bucks County and Philadelphia for low-level crimes like retail theft, receiving stolen property and possession of drug paraphernalia.
No force was used and no injuries were reported, according to a document obtained by Action News.
The document shows Hagenkotter has last known addresses in the 7700 block of Cottage Street, the 3500 block of Shelmire Avenue and the 11800 block of Brandon Road.
Hagenkotter is described as being 5'06", 140 lbs, brown eyes and grey hair.
All Philadelphia prisons have been placed on lockdown and visitations have been discontinued.
Now, the facilities are facing scrutiny as neighbors living nearby voice their concerns for their safety after at least three escapes and one killing in the last six months from the prisons along State Road.
"I just got to keep my children safe because that's what I'm worried about -- being as that's where I live in the neighborhood, where the escapees come from and they just keep escaping. They just keep escaping from here," said Theodore Goins, from Northeast Philadelphia.
This comes just a few months after two inmates pulled off a high-profile escape in the Holmesburg section earlier this year.
Ameen Hurst 19, and Nasir Grant, 24, escaped through a gap cut in the fence of the PICC in May.
Residents are unsettled and stunned that this happened again in just six months.
"They should really be more secure than to let them keep escaping. There should not be that many loopholes in a prison," Goins said.
Hurst was charged with four murders, while Grant was being held on gun and drug charges. Both were caught within 10 days.
District Attorney Larry Krasner said during a hearing in city council earlier this month that the gap had been there for nearly seven weeks and had been noticed by prison staffers at least four days before the escape.
Krasner also revealed that a guard was asleep on the night of the escape.