Inmate escapes from work crew on Tucson's east side

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A 44-year old Arizona Department of Corrections inmate walked away from a work crew on Tucson's east side around noon on Wednesday.  A search is underway for Jeffrey Douglas.  It's centered along Harrison south of Broadway.

DOC officials say Douglas, serving a 7.5 year sentence out of Maricopa County for car theft and weapons charges, was noticed missing by the crew supervisor at about 12:30 p.m.  He had last been seen at 12:05 p.m.

Douglas was serving his second term in DOC.  He was sent to prison in October, 2009.  DOC says he was a minimum security inmate housed in the Whetstone Unit at the prison complex on South Wilmot Road in Tucson.

He's identified on the DOC website as 44, 6'3", 220 pounds.  He's a white male.

Tucson police have responded and searching the area.  Department of Corrections is sending in search teams as well.  DOC says canine teams from prisons in Tucson, Douglas and Florence are responding.  Fox 11 News reporter Deanna Morgan who is at the command post at Stefan and Harrison reports canine crews went into the field for the search just before 3 p.m.

Tucson Unified School District says six schools in the area were put on lockdown when they learned about the escape.  Those schools are Gridley, Marshall Dunham, Steele, Gale and Soleng Tom.   The district says students were dismissed at their normal time and most were picked up by parents or placed on school buses.  The schools remained on "soft" lockdown for staff and students participating in the "Kidco" after school programs.

The center of the search area is around Harrison and Stefan -- about halfway between Broadway and 22nd Street.

If you see Douglas or have any information, call 911.