BERKELEY TOWNSHIP, N.J. –Police say an inmate who escaped nearly a week ago from a minimum security prison in New Jersey walked off after apparently making arrangements to surrender.
The Lacey Township Police Department released surveillance photos of 38-year-old Arthur Buckel inside the Forked River Rest Area of the Garden State Parkway late Sunday.
Buckel, who now appears to be clean-shaven, indicated a desire to turn himself in and had been making arrangements through family and the New Jersey state police involving the rest area, authorities told the Associated Press.
The Department of Corrections, however, told PIX11 Buckel had arranged to turn himself in at the Forked River rest stop, but he walked off prior to the arrival of state police.
Local police were notified after he was spotted, and then they tracked him inside a wooded area of the Garden State Parkway where they discovered a tarp he was using for shelter, according to a law enforcement source close to the search. His whereabouts are unknown.
Buckel was last seen wearing a grey, long-sleeve sweatshirt, grey shorts and work boots.
Police have been searching throughout the area and extra officers are stationed at nearby schools Monday.
Buckel was found missing last Tuesday when guards did a count at Bayside State Prison in Hammonton.
Lacey Township is about 50 miles northeast of Hammonton.
Buckel has been serving a sentence for aggravated assault, drug possession and burglary. He was scheduled to be considered for parole later this month.
Buckel previously served 14 years in prison after pleading guilty to aggravated manslaughter of a 10-month-old child.
Anyone who sees anything suspicious or sees Buckel should notify police immediately.