Anthony Skeens, The Triplicate

Low-security inmates move about freely during daytime

Pelican Bay State Prison Inmate Tore Digirolamo hopped the eight-foot fence separating him from freedom and disappeared into the woods, where he stayed for several hours before his capture, officials said.

Digirolamo, 44, was noticed missing around 12:30 p.m. The discovery mobilized officials from throughout the county to search the wooded area next to the prison bordering Lake Earl Drive.

A helicopter buzzed overhead while authorities from various county agencies aided Pelican Bay officers in the manhunt until about 7:30 p.m.

"The crisis response team members saw movement in the trees and bushes," said Pelican Bay public information officer Chris Acosta.

The team ordered him to come out of the woods and get on the ground, and he complied, Acosta said.

Digirolamo was housed in the minimum security facility, a dormitory setting outside of the main perimeter of the super-maximum facility. Inmates are able to move about freely during the day. It's likely Digirolamo hopped the fence from the recreation yard, Acosta said.

Inmates in the minimum security dorm perform much of the labor at Pelican Bay, including jobs in landscaping, at the prison's wastewater treatment plant and administrative office.

Digirolamo was entering his third year in a four-year sentence for second-degree burglary, which he was convicted of in July 2011 in Los Angeles County.

He gave no reason for the escape.

His movement is much more limited now that he is in administrative segregation.

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