Newark Airport

Prisoner in Custody After Daring Escape in Newark Airport Bathroom

It was not immediately clear how the suspect managed to get into the ceiling without officers knowing

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What to Know

  • A prisoner in law enforcement custody made a daring escape into the ceiling at Newark Airport, sources told NBC New York
  • The prisoner was taken into a bathroom at Terminal C; he "disappeared" while inside, a source initially said. Authorities allegedly believed he was hiding in the ceiling somewhere
  • The fugitive was eventually apprehended by Port Authority Police ESU and CBP SRT Team without incident, sources said

A prisoner in law enforcement custody made a daring escape into the ceiling at Newark Liberty International Airport after telling officers he had to use the bathroom, sources told NBC New York.

The prisoner was taken into a bathroom at Terminal C just after 11 a.m., and the man "disappeared" while inside, a source initially said. Authorities allegedly believed he was hiding in the ceiling somewhere.

Customs and Border Protection agents spent the next few hours combing through — and climbing into — air ducts, vents and open spaces in the ceiling in search of 40-year-old Constantino Coffie, who was allegedly busted on narcotics charges.

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The fugitive was eventually apprehended. According to a source familiar with the incident, the Port Authority Police Department's Emergency Services Unit was on scene and began taking down the ceiling the prisoner accessed. Customs officers from their Special Response Team also were on the scene, with one allegedly climbing into the ceiling and entering the ductwork. That agent climbed up to a story above when he spotted the escaped prisoner. PAPD had to cut both out of the ductwork, the source said.

It was not immediately clear how Coffie managed to get into the ceiling without officers knowing to begin with. The area was shut down but the airport remained operational, the source said.

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