A $500 reward has been posted for a man who knowingly took the identity of another inmate Monday in order to flee the Lower Buckeye Jail.
Sheriff's deputies are looking for Rocky Marquez, 33, who was mistakenly released on Monday afternoon.
Silent Witness is offering the reward for information leading to his arrest.
Marquez is suspected of using the identity of an inmate who was scheduled for release that same day, deputies said.
Marquez was being held on charges of perjury, forgery, witness tampering, DUI, misconduct involving weapons and leaving the scene of an accident, according to deputies.
Authorities believe Marquez made a deal with another prisoner to take his identity so he could get out of jail. It's unclear why the other prisoner went along with the ruse.
"Their affiliations and their links to gangs and with each other is currently being investigated by our general crimes detectives," said Capt. Brian Lee with the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office.
Lee said the jails do not have high-tech equipment to verify the identities to assure those being released are the same people that came in.
Lee said this is a combination of a well-executed plan and possibly human error.
Corrections officers quiz outgoing inmates with personal information like date of birth, charges and social security numbers. Lee said Marquez got all the information correct.
There is a checks and balances procedure in place, Lee said. A corrections officer and a supervisor are supposed to separately compare thumb prints on the way out to the thumb print given when booked.
"When something like this happens we initiate an internal investigation and if there was any type of policy violation, wrong doing on our part of any of our employees we'll take corrective actions," Lee said.
Deputies said Marquez is considered armed and dangerous and should not be approached.
Anyone with information about Marquez is asked to call the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office at 602-876-1011 or Silent Witness at 480-WITNESS.
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