South Carolina Department of Corrections Inmate, Jose Chico Romero Captured 40 Years After Escape

COLUMBIA, SC (STL.News) An SCDC inmate who escaped from an Anderson County work crew in 1979 was captured Wednesday in Dover, Del., living under an assumed name and identity.

Jose Chico Romero, now 64, had an encounter with Dover Police on Dec. 28 in which he presented a fake identification card.  He was arrested, processed and released under the name Arnaldo Figueroa, but his fingerprints later came back with a match for Romero.  He was apprehended in Dover without incident on New Year’s Day.

Romero was serving an 18-year sentence for armed robbery from Aiken County when he escaped on Dec. 13, 1979.  At the time of his escape, Romero was assigned to a work crew in Anderson County and was being housed at the former Anderson County Stockade.  The building was being used to house short-term local inmates and SCDC inmates assigned to work in the county as part of the designated facilities program.

Romero was one of several SCDC inmates assigned to live and work there.  Under current classification rules, he would not have qualified for this work-release program.

Romero is being held at Sussex Correctional Institution in Georgetown, Del., on a fugitive warrant and has waived extradition.  He also is charged with public intoxication, loitering, thirddegree criminal trespassing, second-degree forgery (four counts), criminal impersonation and being an out-of-state fugitive.

Once returned to SCDC, Romero will be required to serve the remainder of his original sentence, which is about seven years, plus any additional time added for an escape conviction.

SCDC thanks the Dover Police Department and Delaware Attorney General’s office for their cooperation and diligence in apprehending and returning this criminal.