Sheriff on the lookout for two accidentally released prisoners
FRESNO – The Fresno County Jail mistakenly released two violent inmates and is now asking for the public’s help to find them.
Paul Richard Prieto, 25, of Dinuba and Timothy James Van, 35, of Fresno are the two inmates that the Fresno County Sheriff’s Department is hoping to get back into jail.
“The jail accidentally released the two inmates,” Jail Captain Rick Hill said.
Prieto was mistakenly released on March 5. He was originally arrested by Parlier police in June 2010 on charges of armed robbery, possession of stolen property, gang enhancements, and a parole violation. Staff at the jail released him by accident after they received paperwork from the court to release another inmate who had the same last name.
Prieto was scheduled to go to court on his armed robbery charges on March 12 and was facing 151 years to life in prison. He did not show up for his court date.
Police described Prieto as 5 feet 10 inches, Hispanic, and around 175 pounds. He has black hair, brown eyes, and tattoos on his upper body.
Van was arrested last December by Clovis police on domestic violence charges. He was released from the jail on March 13. The jail was supposed to release him to the Poverello House program. Police describe Van as being 6 feet 2 inches, white, and 200 pounds. He has short blond hair, blue eyes, and a tattoo of red lips on his neck.
Captain Hill said that some of the jail staff work as long as 16 hours a day on the job, and every once in awhile mistakes will be made.
Sheriff Margaret Mims said that these inmates appear to have been released due to officer error. She said the sheriff’s department will “investigate how this happened and make corrections accordingly.”
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