WEYERS CAVE -- On Wednesday, police searched for Karan Batra, an inmate who escaped from a work release program near the Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport, or SHD. He escaped at about 10 a.m. while doing landscaping work.
Officers found Batra nine hours later in Washington D.C. Police aren't saying much about how Batra got there or what led police to him.
Batra is a man with a lengthy criminal history, including 45 charges, dating back to 1998. Most of the charges are for things like fraud, forgery and stolen credit cards and money. Police say they did not consider Batra dangerous while he was on the loose.
According to Larry Traylor at the Virginia Department of Corrections, escapes like this, called "walk aways," do not happen very often. Traylor says the last one happened in August, in Augusta County. Before that, three men "walked away" in two separate incidents in 2009.
"We've never had anything like this happen before, and hopefully we don't again," said Greg Campbell, airport manager of SHD.
He says using work-release crews is a cost-effective way to get work done at the airport.
"We're not subjecting the public to anything that's unsafe or anything like that."
Campbell says using the crews does not take away from passengers' safety.
"We have our own security layers at the airport. There are certain tasks that we do not allow them to perform, because of that."
Campbell calls the escape an "isolated incident." He says he plans to continue having work release crews at the airport.
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