Friday April 21, 2023 – A drug dealer strolled out of prison and went on the run after claiming to be his lookalike sleeping cellmate who was due to be released.
Brian Francisco Roman, 26, of Longview, Washington, escaped from the Cowlitz County jail U.S., on Monday, April 17, after he claimed he was his cellmate and prison guards believed him.
The Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office said the two men shared similar physical features.
When officers entered the cell to release the inmate due for release, “all three inmates in the cell were asleep,” according to the Sheriff’s Office.
After calling out the inmate’s name, Roman awoke and “identified himself as that inmate and went with the corrections officers to be processed out of custody.”
Roman, who was originally in jail for drug dealing, was smart enough to keep up the act and forged his roommate’s signatures on the discharge paperwork. After he was fully processed, correctional officers handed Roman the roomate’s “clothing, keys, and wallet, which contained identification and a debit card.”
He was seen on surveillance video leaving in a blue and white hoodie with the hood plugged low over his eyes, gray sweatpants, and slippers.
“Corrections staff did not realize the wrong inmate had been released until the victim inmate contacted them to inquire about when he was to be released,” Chief Criminal Deputy, Troy Brightbill, said in a press release.
Law enforcement was then contacted to hunt down Roman, who remained on the loose for one day until he was taken back into custody on April 18. He was transferred back to Cowlitz from Columbia County jail this morning, Sheriff Brad Thurman told DailyMail.com on Thursday, April 20.
He has been charged with second-degree escape, first-degree criminal impersonation, forgery, and second and third-degree theft.
More than 2,000 inmates escaped from jail in 2019, according to Statista.