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Police: Handcuffed man escapes Schenectady police custody; Recaptured half mile away

Police: Handcuffed man escapes Schenectady police custody; Recaptured half mile away

He had originally been taken into custody the night before, authorities say
Police: Handcuffed man escapes Schenectady police custody; Recaptured half mile away
Photographer: Gazette file photo

SCHENECTADY - A city man continued to be held without bail Monday after he escaped police custody late Thursday afternoon, police said.

The man, identified as Dennis M. Wohlleber, 30, of Chrisler Avenue, had been awaiting arraignment on domestic and theft-related charges when he walked out of the cell block and out the station's front doors, according to police allegations filed in court.

Wohlleber allegedly did so while still in handcuffs.

"The defendant had no reason to believe he was free to leave at the time and was in handcuffs," police stated.

The incident began at about 3:56 p.m. Thursday, police said in a release. The release did not indicate when police realized Wohlleber was gone or why he was unguarded at the time.

Police had him back in custody 49 minutes after he fled, police said. An on-duty detective spotted Wohlleber in the area of Eastern Avenue and Walnut Street and took him into custody and transported him back to the station, police said.

The area where Wohlleber was picked up is just over a half mile east of the Schenectady police station.

Wohlleber was charged with one count of first-degree escape. He was arraigned Friday and ordered held without bail. He remained in custody Monday.

Police had originally arrested Wohlleber on multiple warrants the evening before, just before 10 p.m. at his residence.

He is accused of contacting an ex-girlfriend via email on Oct. 20 in violation of a stay away order of protection in Schenectady.

He faces one count each of aggravated family offense and first-degree criminal contempt, felonies. Those were elevated to felonies due to prior criminal contempt convictions, according to the allegations.

The warrants also included three separate petty larceny charges. He is accused of taking tools from the Schenectady Home Depot on Nov. 27 and Dec. 3. 

Last week's escape is the third time someone has been accused of fleeing or trying to flee custody through the city Police Department lobby in recent years.

In December 2015, a man taken into custody on new charges during a court appearance on other charges fled from the city police booking area to the department's lobby. Police said the man was agitated and fled when the officer stepped out of the booking area briefly to summon help. Police nabbed the man in the lobby.

In January 2019, a sex offender who had just been informed he would be charged for failing to register in Schenectady fled after a detective left the interview room to get paperwork. The suspect walked out of the room and out of the station's front door

He was out for about 34 minutes. Police took him into custody near the Denny's at Liberty Street and Nott Terrace, authorities said.

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