Suspected boat thief escapes

A Caymanian man charged with stealing a 65-foot Red Sail Sports catamaran last year escaped from Northward prison Friday.

At press time Sunday, 47-year-old James Orville Ebanks had not been reported found and local authorities were continuing their manhunt for him.

Ebanks was noticed missing by Northward officers during a prisoner head count just before noon Friday.

Prison officials said Ebanks cut through the bars of his cell window using a tool, and then cut through the perimeter fence of the facility to make good his escape.

He was wearing a standard issue light blue prison uniform when he vanished.

An internal investigation into the security lapse has begun and one prison officer was immediately suspended over the incident Friday.

Although Ebanks is not considered a violent prisoner, Commissioner of Corrections and Rehabilitation William Rattray asked the public not to approach him and call 911 if they had any information on his whereabouts.

His last known address prior to being remanded to Northward was Birch Tree Hill Road, West Bay.

Ebanks was charged with stealing Red Sail’s Spirit of Calypso off Seven Mile Beach in May 2008 and single-handedly piloting the large vessel nearly to Honduras. Large catamarans generally require three to four crew members to pilot.

He is also accused of stealing the tender boat Carib Wave in December 2005. The boat was believed to have been sold in Honduras for $10,000.

Friday’s escape is the second major security breach for the Cayman Islands prison system this year.

An inmate on a work release programme was accused os killing 21-year-old Sabrina Schirn in March. The work programme has been put on hold while an internal investigation is conducted.