Copter chase lands escapee |

Copter chase lands escapee

The Union staff and the Associated Press

A Brownsville man who escaped a minimum-security barracks in Placer County was arrested Monday after two weeks on the lam.

Neil Eugene Benham, 30, was arrested by Sacramento County Sheriff’s deputies on suspicion of stealing a green Honda Civic and evading officers, according to sheriff’s spokesman R.L. Davis.

Deputies spotted the car in Sacramento County about 2:25 p.m. after it had been reported stolen in El Dorado Hills, Davis said. They called in the Sacramento Police helicopter to trail the car.

The helicopter followed the vehicle through Citrus Heights and then back into an unincorporated area of Sacramento County, Davis said. At one point, officers allegedly saw Benham throw a gun out of the car.

The Yuba County man abandoned the Honda about 2:40 p.m. and was escaping on foot when “an overwhelming number of law enforcement people,” caught him in a supermarket parking lot, Davis said.

Benham was serving a 185-day sentence for possession of stolen property from a case out of Roseville, said Placer County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Karl Fulenwider. He said Benham escaped through a gate in the exercise yard area of the barracks near the Placer County Jail in Auburn about 9:30 p.m. May 5.

Benham had been due for release in September, but now faces additional time on an escape charge, possibly in state prison, Fulenwider said.

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