A man who has escaped Oklahoma Department of Corrections custody multiple times has been identified by Tulsa Police as the suspect in a burglary and pursuit during which he reportedly jumped into the Arkansas River.
Police Cpl. Brandon Davis said in a news release that officers arrested Christopher Coffey, 30, on Thursday following a burglary complaint in the 1300 block of South Carson Avenue.
Davis said members of the agency’s IMPACT Unit determined the homeowner was out of state but could see on his security system that someone with a red backpack was “snooping around in the backyard and around the residence.”
The homeowner told police the person left the area after they exchanged communication through the security system, but Davis said the man submitted a video clip to police.
Davis said authorities arrested Coffey after a pursuit that began when they found him at the 1700 block of South Riverside Drive. Coffey allegedly “ran through the woods and he jumped into the Arkansas River” to try to flee, Davis said.
Coffey reportedly refused to identify himself when officers apprehended him, but Davis said officers were able to use his tattoos to determine who he was.
The Oklahoma Department of Corrections reported in early April that Coffey and four others walked away from the minimum-security Jackie Brannon Correctional Center in McAlester, where Coffey was incarcerated for convictions of larceny and escape from confinement.
The DOC also searched for Coffey last July after he reportedly walked away from a church service at Clara Waters Community Corrections Center in Oklahoma City.
Officers in Tulsa took Coffey to a hospital for what Davis described as “minor injuries” before transporting him to jail. He is in custody at the Tulsa County jail on complaints of third-degree burglary, knowingly concealing stolen property and resisting arrest.
Coffey also has an active warrant in Pittsburg County connected to his escape from prison.
“Before the suspect could swim to the other side, additional officers arrived on the south bank of the river. The suspect continued to attempt escape and began swimming downstream,” Davis wrote of the pursuit. “Tulsa Fire Department’s Water Rescue Unit arrived (and) deployed boats into the river to assist with apprehension and evidence recovery.”
He said a backpack seized during the arrest, which Coffey reportedly threw into the river, also had items reported missing after a burglary of a vehicle near the 100 block of North Olympia Avenue.
“Officers and Firefighters worked very well together on an very unusual apprehension,” Davis wrote.