Crime

Escaped San Quentin inmate captured in Paso Robles

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Witnessing a crime and reporting it can be just as frightening as being the victim of a crime. Here’s what you should do if you witness illegal activity.
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Witnessing a crime and reporting it can be just as frightening as being the victim of a crime. Here’s what you should do if you witness illegal activity.

An escaped inmate who walked away from a San Quentin State Prison work crew was taken into custody at a Taco Bell restaurant in Paso Robles on Saturday afternoon.

The manhunt concluded just a day after Shalom Mendoza, 21, was seen purchasing dark clothing to replace his prison uniform at a Dollar Store in San Miguel about 4:20 p.m. Friday and spotted near Pioneer Park in Paso Robles around midnight Saturday morning, according to officials.

According to a California Department of Corrections press release, a civilian recognized Mendoza inside the restaurant at 24th Street and Riverside Avenue and contacted Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation agents.

Mendoza was reported missing at approximately 9:35 p.m. Wednesday after an institutional count. Mendoza was assigned to work outside the secured perimeter of the prison and did not return.

It is believed Mendoza carjacked a Toyota RAV4 at a Home Depot close to the prison near San Rafael. According to officials, a vehicle matching that description was later recovered north of Paso Robles off Highway 101.

Mendoza was taken to the California Men’s Colony, and his case will be referred to the Marin County District Attorney’s Office for consideration of escape charges and carjacking, the release said.

According to the CDCR, Mendoza was sentenced to five years in December 2017 for use of a deadly weapon during a carjacking/attempted carjacking and evading or attempting to evade a peace officer while driving recklessly.

Mendoza should not be confused with Justin Franks, another California inmate who escaped from prison last Saturday.

Franks, 27, “walked away” from Folsom State Prison before an inmate count, when he was discovered missing by officers, officials said, and is still at large.

During a tour of San Quentin State Prison, Lt. Samuel Robinson provided insights about the process of bringing inmates to the facility and about how they are assigned to their living spaces once they are inside.



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