Prisoner who escaped in East Harlem turns himself in to police

Marcus Solis Image
Monday, July 27, 2015
Arthur Collins

EAST HARLEM (WABC) -- Authorities said a man who escaped from a police holding cell Friday night in East Harlem is back in custody.

New York City police said 57-year-old Arthur Collins turned himself in to officers at a courthouse at about 11 a.m. Monday.

Friday at 1:43 p.m., police responded to a 911 call of an unknown man lurking inside of 1976 Madison Avenue.

Cops rushed to the 25th precinct station house Friday afternoon, in the air, on the ground, and on four legs. They were all hunting for a suspect who escaped his holding cell and simply vanished.

"Scary! That they could just escape from the police presence like that," a resident said.

Investigators are still trying to figure out how Collins managed to escape. Officers had just arrested him for trespassing, only to find he was allegedly carrying crack, heroin, cocaine and marijuana, as well as a gun silencer.

They placed him in a holding cell in the 25th precinct, but when officers went to check on him, he was gone.

"This guy, you don't mess with this guy," a neighbor said.

This neighbor says he knows Collins from the neighborhood and says he seems to him to be both violent and mentally ill.

Friday evening, a police bloodhound tracked him as far as the 116th Street Downtown 6 subway stop, but it was there that the trail ran cold.

"When you see people talking like this, you ignore them you just keep walking, but when you stand there and look and start talking to them you may get into a lot of problems and you don't want that," the neighbor said.

All of this one month to the day after a different suspect, Tareek Arnold, assaulted an officer and escaped from the 32nd precinct stationhouse in central Harlem.

Cops caught up to him just days ago. Police said they hoped it doesn't take that long to get Arthur Collins back.

Police canvassed the area including Lincoln Houses, Mt. Morris Park and Wards Island.

Collins was not wearing handcuffs and he was also not wearing any shoes.

Collins served time for a 1976 manslaughter conviction, and again for a 1981 attempted murder conviction.