Prison break in Latvia on Sunday; escapee caught

On Sunday, July 23, Māris Kovaļovs who was in prison for attempted murder managed to escape but was caught within a few hours, Interior Minister Māris Kučinskis confirmed to Latvian Television.

Kovaļovs, born in 1993, escaped from prison at around 13:45.

Extensive search events were launched by the State Police and the plan "traps" were launched across the country, which limited movement of persons and involved searches of vehicles.

“The escaped prisoner was captured with the help of the Traps plan,” Kučinskis said.

Kovaļovs was found in a house on Sīmaņa Street, in Sarkandaugava district, Rīga. It had been an address the police had known he could potentially be.

Kovaļovs will be returned to prison, the minister said.

The Prison Administration previously informed that the escape had been identified by a prison guard, who had immediately reported it to the responsible services.

Criminal proceedings have been initiated regarding the fact of escape. A service inspection will also be initiated by the prison administration, which will assess the circumstances of the event and the behaviour of officials.

Kucinskis confirmed in an interview to Latvian Television shortly before the criminal was captured that the search for Kovaļovs had been extended both at the Latvian level and neighboring countries – Lithuania and Estonia, where road transport checks were also enforced.

During the search, cars were stopped and checked on the street. Car checks were also carried out in various regions of Latvia, mostly by checking vehicles leaving Rīga. For this reason, traffic was significantly delayed in many areas and there were significant bottlenecks.

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