Neighbor took footage of autos with out-of-state plates days earlier than fugitive escaped.
SAN DIEGO — We are studying extra in regards to the fugitive, Leonard Francis aka “Fat Leonard,” who was awaiting sentencing in a Navy bribery scandal when he escaped over the weekend.
A neighbor took pictures of out-of-state autos on Wednesday, August 31, parked in entrance of the Torrey Highlands house the place Francis was dwelling below house arrest.
The pictures confirmed a Mazda SUV with license plates from Missouri, and a Chrysler van with plates out of Colorado.
One picture confirmed an Infinity SUV that neighbors stated belonged to Fat Leonard, although the neighbors had no thought who he was or why he was dwelling there.
A spokesperson for the U.S. Marshals service did reply to CBS 8’s questions looking for details about the standing of the autos, or whether or not officers had been making an attempt to find any of them.
On Sunday morning, September 4, Francis allegedly reduce off the court-ordered GPS monitoring machine on his ankle and escaped house arrest.
He’s described as 6’2” tall, weighing 350 kilos.
The house is in a gated neighborhood referred to as Collins Ranch. It has 5 bedrooms, seven loos and is valued at $2.8 million on Zillow.
Francis reportedly lived there with a nanny and his three teenage kids, below court-ordered house arrest. Neighbors informed CBS 8 that they might see the kids extra usually than their father, who largely stayed contained in the house.
Neighbors stated they seen U-Haul vehicles at the house for 4 consecutive nights, starting on the night of Wednesday, August 31.
“Members of the fugitive task force spoke to neighbors, and they did mention that they did see U-Haul trucks come in and out of the house. So, it sounds like he had been laying low and he was likely planning this,” stated Omar Castillo, a supervisory deputy U.S. Marshal in San Diego.
Francis, 58, had been below house arrest for the previous 4 years as a cooperating witness within the largest Navy bribery scandal in U.S. historical past.
During a 2018 listening to in federal courtroom concerning his house arrest, a prosecutor informed the courtroom, “He has two guards who’re positioned 24 hours a day outdoors of his door, that if Mr. Francis had been to attempt or try to go away would instantly contact the Marshals Service.”
A federal company, California Southern Pretrial Services, was accountable for Francis’ safety, in keeping with the U.S. Marshals Service.
Francis pleaded responsible in 2015 to bribing officers within the Navy’s Seventh Fleet with booze, prostitutes, and money. In alternate, the officers used their affect to direct ships to ports serviced by Francis’ Singapore-based company.
Fat Leonard was dealing with as much as 25 years in jail at sentencing, which was set for September 22. Now, he’s gone.
“He was planning this and the house was vacant. So, we believe he definitely had this in the works and he was focusing on probably getting out of the country as soon as possible,” Castillo stated.
Officers are utilizing license plate readers to try to observe down the U-Haul vehicles, in keeping with Castillo.
Editor’s Note: An earlier model of this report misidentified the make of the SUV within the driveway.
WATCH RELATED: ‘He is a danger taker’ | Massive manhunt for ‘Fat Leonard’ expands (September 2022)