Escaped prisoner back in police custody

October 2, 2009 5:50:21 AM PDT
The man who escaped from a Manhattan courthouse is back in police custody this morning. He was captured Thursday night in Washington Heights.

Police say 56-year-old Ronald Tackman was arrested as he came off a bus near 175th Street and Amsterdam Avenue around 9:00 p.m. on Thursday.

Tackman had been on the run since Wednesday morning.

The Department of Correction says Tackman has a history of escape attempts and a criminal record dating back to 1978.

Tackman had been wearing a business suit when a court officer spotted him on Wednesday and mistook him for an attorney.

Tackman was a defendant on trial on a second-degree robbery charge.

Despite the efforts of a swift mobilization, the sealing of the Criminal Courthouse building, and the dogs of both the Corrections Department and NYPD K-9 units picking up and following the prisoner's scent, Tackman remained at large

Tackman pulled off his daring escape by walking out of an unlocked State Supreme Court prisoner holding area on the 12th floor of 100 Centre Street.

He strolled through an 11th-floor courtroom, where a court officer apparently mistook him for a lawyer and called him counselor, but didn't stop him. The felon, who should have been treated like a flight risk, walked right out of the north entrance.

Authorities say Tackman visited his mother shortly after his escape, where he changed clothes and then left.

Tackman's mother, Gene Devine, said that her son came home "all dressed up." She says she figured he'd been discharged from prison. He changed clothes before leaving.

Tackman's prison record has him in Sing Sing in 1978 for an attempted robbery, at Rikers three years after that and in Attica in 1984 for another robbery and escaping custody..

Tackman's arrest record, according to state department of corrections:

  • In 1978, he was convicted of attempted robbery. He entered Sing Sing in February 1978 and was released in September 1980.
  • In 1981, he was convicted of attempted burglary. He entered Rikers Island in August 1981 and was released in April 1984
  • In 1985, he was convicted of robbery, attempted robbery and escape from custody. He arrived at Attica State Prison in April 1985 and was conditionally released on parole in June 2006. His parole expires in November 2013.

    The 1985 escape from custody involved Tackman taking over a prison van as it crossed the Brooklyn Bridge into Manhattan, headed to court. He fired a pellet gun at corrections officers but missed.

    He also had a previous escape attempt, when he briefly took over a prison van with a gun made out of soap.

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