Los Angeles

Fugitive Apprehended on San Gabriel High School Athletic Field

The 39-year-old subject of the two-hour search was serving part of a sentence in a private home in El Monte through the state's Alternative Custody Program

Schools in San Gabriel were locked down Tuesday as police searched the area for a man missing from a state custody program.

The offender, who walked away last week from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation custody program, was apprehended at about 1 p.m. He was found hiding on an athletic field at San Gabriel High School about two hours after the school lockdowns began, according to police

Benedict Romero, 39, was housed since January in a private El Monte residence as part of the state's Alternative Custody Program, which allows offenders to serve the last 12 months of a sentence in a private home, transitional care facility or a treatment center. Romero was reported missing on the morning of April 7 after he tampered with his ankle monitor, according to the CDOCR.

He was initially placed in Department of Corrections custody in May 2016 from Los Angeles County, where he was serving a sentence for vehicle theft. Romero was expected to be paroled in December, according to the department.

Romero did not come into contact with any students, police said.

A tweet by the City of San Gabriel account indicated the search is "not directly related" to the schools. The high school and Martha Baldwin Elementary School were locked down during the search, which included an area near a railroad track, the San Pasqual Wash and Alhambra Golf Course.

The school is in the 800 block of South Ramona Street in San Gabriel, about 12 miles northeast of downtown Los Angeles.

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