April 2, 2011 in Nation/World

Time on the lam ends for escape-by-fax man

Associated Press
 

MADRID, Spain – Spanish police say they have arrested a man who twice escaped from custody by having his wife send fake faxes ordering his release.

Jose Carlos Serna, 57, was taken into custody at his home in San Lorenzo del Escorial, a suburb north of Madrid, on Friday while hiding in a hollowed-out sofa, police said.

In December, he was in a cell at Arganda del Rey courthouse awaiting trial when officers got a fax purportedly from a regional court. It was followed by a phone call purportedly from a court official, corroborating the release order.

Officers tried to verify the order, but their calls went unanswered. When they received a second call confirming Serna’s release, he was freed to a waiting taxi. Both calls came from his wife.

It was not the first time Serna used the trick on police. He escaped from Valdemoro jail in October using the same tools.

He had been in prison for heading a gang that in 2008 kidnapped a Spanish businessman.

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