An inmate who walked away from San Quentin State Prison on Wednesday was spotted Friday in San Miguel on the Central Coast after apparently ditching a carjacked getaway vehicle, prison officials said.
Investigators believe Shalom Mendoza is now heading south towards the Los Angeles area, Lt. Samuel Robinson said.
Mendoza, 21, was seen at a Dollar Store in San Miguel about 4:20 p.m. Friday. He purchased dark clothing and is no longer wearing his prison uniform, Robinson said.
Mendoza, assigned to work outside the secured perimeter of San Quentin, apparently walked away from the facility around 9:35 p.m. Wednesday. He was discovered missing during an institutional check, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation officials said.
Officials believe Mendoza then carjacked someone in a Home Depot parking lot in San Rafael and fled in a Toyota RAV4, California license plate number 6STZ502.
San Rafael police said today that surveillance video shows the stolen RAV4 passing through the Interstate Highway 80 Bay Bridge Toll Plaza, about 15 minutes after the carjacking.
On Friday, a vehicle matching that description was found abandoned on the shoulder of southbound U.S. Highway 101, just north of Paso Robles on Friday, officials said.
Mendoza was sentenced to five years in prison for using a deadly weapon during a carjacking/attempted carjacking and evading or attempting to evade peace officers while driving recklessly in Los Angeles County in December 2017. He arrived at San Quentin on April 28.
He is described as 5-feet 5 inches tall, with brown hair, brown eyes and weighs 177 pounds.
Mendoza is considered dangerous and anyone with sees him is asked to call 911.
Anyone with information on his whereabouts should call Special Agent Eric Lauren at (559) 351-3979.