SANTA CRUZ—Santa Cruz County Jail Officials took into custody Craig Michael Souza, 34, of Santa Cruz but he escaped hours later through a door marked for Correction Staff.
The Santa Cruz Police Department originally brought Souza in around 5:14 p.m. on Monday for providing a false name to a peace officer and a probation violation. Souza is no stranger to the county jail according to Officials he is known as a “frequent flyer inmate”.
At about 7:02 p.m. Souza escaped from custody by walking from the seating area inside the main jail to a staff door during shift change and was inadvertently released by a Correctional Officer. He just walked right out of the intake area of the main jail.
“We are looking into this matter to see if a procedural error occurred, and are conducting an internal investigation.” Santa Cruz County Sheriff Deputy April Skalland said, “This incident is the first since 2003, and we book over 12,000 inmates a year.”
Souza was noticed missing at approximately 7:10 p.m. as the Jail went on immediate locked down as authorities began to actively searching for him.
Souza turned himself in to the Santa Cruz Sheriff Detectives on Tuesday afternoon. He spoke with KSBW News reporter Phil Gomez, who interviewed him as he was being rebooked into the county Jail. “I needed to take responsibility for my actions and that I wasn’t going to hurt anyone.” Santa Cruz County inmate Craig Souza said when talking with Gomez, “I want everyone to know I did it for love.”
With his two latest episodes, Souza has been booked into Santa Cruz County Jail a total of 23 times. He has a criminal history of non-violent drug offenses and theft.
This is Santa Cruz County’s second escape from custody case in the past nine years. The other one happened in 2003 when two inmates escaped out of the jail’s laundry room.
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