19-year-old federal inmate caught after escaping custody in Brooklyn

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Thursday, September 10, 2020
Escaped inmate discovered hiding under sheet in man's living room
Police have captured the federal inmate who escaped from custody in Sunset Park, Brooklyn on Wednesday in front of 170 26th Street.

SUNSET PARK, Brooklyn (WABC) -- A 19-year-old federal inmate who escaped in Brooklyn was taken back into custody after hiding in a man's living room for hours.

The manhunt for Jhonny Soto swirled through a block on Fourth Avenue in Sunset Park for hours on Wednesday afternoon.

An entire neighborhood was on the lookout as cops searched for the fugitive they say somehow escaped from a moving FBI car as agents took him to the federal detention center a few blocks away.

Just after 4 p.m., Stephanie Tatsis spotted Soto, with his hands still shackled, in her mother-in-law's back yard. She chased him off with a meat cleaver and called 911.

"He definitely looked like he was up to no good," Tatsis said.

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Soon, teams of tactical cops, with K9s, were in and out, up and down the block, even in Terry Pierson's apartment.

"I just noticed an odd lump that didn't fit the shape of what it was over," Pierson said. "He's been sitting behind me for three hours watching the TV news."

It turns out Soto had been there the whole time and was hiding under a sheet right over his shoulder.

"So I grabbed my flashlight and moved the sheet and there's this face looking back at me," he said. "Went running out the back door to the three policemen in my back yard hollering."

That is when the officers took off and tacked Soto out front.

According to a complaint, Soto is accused of possessing an illegal firearm that had the manufacturer's serial number removed and altered.

Police say the semi-automatic pistol was shipped and transported in interstate and foreign commerce.

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