LOS ANGELES >> A man escaped from a Los Angeles jail facility following his sentencing for stealing laptop computers laden with sensitive data from an Alhambra-based hospital chain, officials announced Thursday.
Christopher Lee Brown, a 37-year-old transient known to frequent the Alhambra area, walked out of the Inmate Reception Center, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said.
“As a result of the inmate’s actions, and that it appears that mandated security practices may have not been followed, the inmate was able to escape through the jail Inmate Reception Center release door,” Los Angeles County sheriff’s Capt. Mike Parker said in a written statement. “Identified security concerns were immediately remedied.”
Brown was believed to have impersonated another inmate to slip past his guards, officials said. He was found missing during an inmate count overnight.
“This led to a search of the jail and ultimately the discovery of jail CCTV video showing the inmate leaving through the release area at 10 p.m. Wednesday, which confirmed the inmate had escaped,” according to a statement issued Thursday afternoon by the Sheriff’s Headquarter’s Bureau.
Brown was sentenced to 4 years and 8 months in prison Wednesday for stealing two laptop computers and three flash drives laden with the personal information of 729,000 patients from an AHMC Healthcare Inc. facility in Alhambra in October, according to Los Angeles County District Attorney’s officials. The laptops were never recovered, however no identity theft issues related to the computer theft have been reported.
A jury convicted Brown in march of burglary and receiving stolen property.
In addition to the crimes he’s already convicted of, Brown is now also accused of felony escape from jail, sheriff’s officials said.
He is described as 6 feet 3 inches tall and 200 pounds.
He has numerous theft-related convictions and has been tied to areas including El Monte and Newport Beach, sheriff’s officials said. Brown was arrested in 1997 and later convicted of assault with a deadly weapon in the San Luis Obispo area.
As officials reviewed the possible errors that led to Brown’s escape, the IRC was placed on lockdown Thursday, along with the Men’s Central Jail and the Twin Tower Correctional Facility, sheriff’s officials said. Medical and mental health services continued.
“A comprehensive review of jail systems, especially related to releases are continuing,” Parker said.
Anyone who spots Brown was advised not to approach him and to contact law enforcement immediately.
Wednesday’s incident was not the first time an inmate supposed to be in the custody of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department had walked through the release doors at the Inmate Reception Center in Los Angeles, where inmates are processed and held before transfer to other facilities.
Deputies continue seeking murder suspect Johnny Mata, 33, who was accidentally released at the IRC on April 4, 2013.
Mata was awaiting trial for the fatal shooting of David Anthony Deandrea on Christmas Eve of 2010 in Baldwin Park. After more than a year on the run, he was arrested by El Monte police in late May of 2012.
Officials released Mata to due to a clerical error, sheriff’s officials said. Though a murder charge had been filed against him, a clerk had not yet entered a “hold” on Mata to prevent his release from custody.
PHOTOS courtesy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.