Authorities are searching for a man they say escaped from a jail barge floating near the Hunts Point section of the Bronx early Saturday.
Police say the man believed to be missing, David Mordukhaev, 30, broke free from the custody of the Department of Corrections custody at around 4:15 a.m., escaping from the Vernon C. Bain Center. The detention center, nicknamed "the Boat," is part of the Rikers Island prison network and can hold 800 detainees. DOC officers noticed Mordukhaev was unaccounted for at around 4:35 a.m., prompting them to put the center on lockdown.
"Our Correction Intelligence Bureau immediately began working around-the-clock with our law enforcement partners at multiple levels," Peter Thorne, a spokesperson for DOC, said in a statement. "No escape from our facilities is ever acceptable and we are taking every step to locate and return this individual to custody."
It's unclear how Mordukhaev escaped from the barge, though Thorne promised a "thorough investigation into how this occurred is underway to ensure that this does not happen again, and disciplinary action, if warranted, will be taken at the conclusion of the investigation.”
The Hunts Point section of the Bronx, which is near the Bruckner Expressway, is largely desolate during that time. The neighborhood is home to the massive Hunts Point Produce Market.
The New York Post reports Mordukhaev was arrested in April last year after he and another man allegedly impersonated police officers, stealing $340 and some marijuana from a man inside an SUV in Brooklyn. The victim pursued the two after realizing the two were not officers, according to the Post. Mordukhaev's lawyer, Lance Lazzaro, told the Post that Mordukhaev is a "respectful straight shooter who always told me the truth.
The five-story jail barge was built in 1989, and opened in 1992 as a temporary facility to ease capacity at Rikers Island. There have been growing calls from elected officials, including Democratic nominee for mayor Eric Adams, to permanently close it.
[Update 8 pm] Authorities apprehended Mordukhaev Saturday evening, according to a statement provided by DOC Commissioner Vincent Schiraldi:
“The individual who escaped this morning has been re-apprehended. I would like to extend my gratitude and appreciation to our Correction Intelligence Bureau, the US Marshals Service, the NYPD, and our fellow law enforcement partners at multiple levels for their successful coordinated efforts to locate this individual. This incident remains under investigation and we will be thoroughly addressing any and all deficiencies that led to this event.”