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Gino Hagenkotter escapes from Philadelphia prison, manhunt underway

Law enforcement searching for inmate who escaped prison in Northeast Philly
Law enforcement searching for inmate who escaped prison in Northeast Philly 02:04

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Police are searching for escaped inmate 34-year-old Gino Hagenkotter in the Holmesburg section of Philadelphia, the city said on Thursday. 

The city says Hagenkotter, who was incarcerated at the Riverside Correctional Facility, escaped at around noon behind the Philadelphia Industrial Correctional Center (PICC). 

34-year-old Gino Hagenkotter City of Philadelphia

How did the inmate escape? 

Blanche Carney, the Commissioner of the Philadelphia Department of Prisons, said Hagenkotter escaped while he was working on a detail assignment in the orchard on prison property as part of a good behavior program.  

Hagenkotter, who was being watched by a prison guard, asked the guard if he could use the bathroom. But, Carney said the guard realized Hagenkotter didn't return from the restroom in an appropriate amount of time. 

The guard went to the area of the bathroom and noticed Hagenkotter wasn't there and alerted other authorities at 12:05 p.m., Carney said. 

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Later, Carney said surveillance video showed Hagenkotter climbing over a prison fence away from the complex through the sanitation yard at 11:48 a.m. Police also saw the escaped inmate on video walking down Torresdale Avenue, Philadelphia Police Deputy Commissioner Frank Vanore said.

"He was allowed to use the lavatory and took advantage," Carney said. 

Vanore said police were applying for an escape felony warrant and detectives are currently combing through surveillance video in the area of the prison to track Hagenkotter down. The U.S. Marshals have agreed to help Philly police search for Hagenkotter, Vanore said. 

Philadelphia police responded at around 12:30 p.m. with patrol officers and K-9 units to set up a perimeter, but Vanore said police believe Hagenkotter broke the initial perimeter based on the surveillance video they obtained thus far. 

City officials provide update after another Philadelphia prison escape 14:50

Vanore said Hagenkotter shed some clothing, including a jumpsuit he was wearing, but he was last seen wearing blue pants, black boots and a short-sleeved white shirt.   

All Philadelphia prison facilities were secured and placed on lockdown at 12:20 p.m. and visits have been discontinued, according to the city. 

Carney claimed the escape wasn't related to staffing issues.

Who is Gino Hagenkotter?

Hagenkotter was incarcerated for theft and burglary charges, the city says. He met the criteria to have an outside work assignment, according to the city.   

Hagenkotter was supposed to be released Thursday into a transitional program, but found out he would be held until April due to an unresolved matter in Bucks County. 


Carney said she believes the Bucks County issue was related to retail theft and believes him not being released Thursday motivated him to escape. 

Vanore said Hagenkotter doesn't have a violent history with police, but warned residents to not approach the escaped inmate. 

If you see Hagenkotter, police are urging you to contact their tip-line at 215-686-TIPS.

Other Pa. prison escapes

Hagenkotter's escape is the third escape from the prison's campus on State Road in Northeast Philly. 

In May, Ameen Hurst and Nasir Grant led authorities on a 10 day manhunt after escaping PICC. The incident led to multiple people being charged for their involvement in the escape.

RELATED: K-9 Rom, who helped in the capture of Danelo Cavalcante, honored at 2023 National Dog Show

Later in September, convicted murderer Danelo Cavelcante led law enforcement on a 14-day manhunt in Chester County. 

In Warren County in western Pennsylvania, Michael Burham was captured over a week after making his escape. 

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