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May 16, 2013

'Farm' prisoner captured in NJ

LAWRENCE — Reford Watkins is back in jail — but about 250 miles away from the Correctional Alternative Center on Marston Street, where he was a prisoner before running away.

Watkins, 35, who walked off his work detail in Haverhill on April 25, was captured in New Jersey this week, according to Assistant Superintendent Maurice E. Pratt of the Essex County Sheriff’s Department.

New Jersey Port Authority Police stopped Watkins on the Goethals Bridge, which connects Elizabeth, N.J. to Staten Island, N.Y.

“He was arrested and charged with trespassing and hindering an investigation (he gave a false name),” Pratt said yesterday.

“When they ran his fingerprints, it showed that he was being sought by the Essex County Sheriff’s Department,” he said.

Watkins had been held at the New Jersey Port Authority until his arraignment yesterday at the Union County Courthouse. Then he was moved to the Union County Jail.

Formerly of Danvers, Watkins was serving a 17-month sentence for assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and vandalism.

Now he faces possible jail time in New Jersey and more time when he returns to Massachusetts for additional charges, including escape from a correctional facility.

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