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Inmate arrested in Bellingham after escaping Washington corrections center

Garrett Stephen Young, 32, escaped from the corrections center over the weekend by digging under a fence.

LITTLEROCK, Wash — An inmate who escaped from the Cedar Creek Corrections Center over the weekend was arrested in the Bellingham area Thursday morning, the Department of Corrections says. 

Garrett Stephen Young, 32, escaped from the corrections center by digging under a fence. Corrections center staff discovered he was missing during a routine check around 3 a.m. on Saturday.

The Pacific Northwest Violent Offender Task Force stopped a vehicle around 10 a.m. using tactical techniques, the DOC said. Young was in the passenger seat and taken into custody without incident.

U.S. Marshals and the DOC Northwest Community Response Unit led the task force.

Earlier in the week, corrections officials said they had "credible information" that suggested Young was in Skagit County.

Young was convicted of car theft and burglary in Skagit County in 2020.

Young was temporarily housed with about 50 other inmates in a gym at the corrections facility due to a COVID-19 outbreak. It's believed Young went out to use a portable toilet in the yard and never returned.

Prior to Young's escape, inmates were allowed to leave the gym without having to get permission.

"That'd be now against the rules," Obenland said.

Cedar Creek Corrections Center is considered a minimum-security facility. The prison is only surrounded by one set of fences. Most other state facilities have two fences, Obenland, said.

Typically, inmates at Cedar Creek are considered low-risk to escape or reoffend. 

”To get to that security level you know, he [Young] kind of had to earn his way there in a way that we felt that he was probably not going to do what he did [again]," said Obenland, who was confident Young would be caught.

Obenland said Young would be charged with escape and could have as many as five years added to his sentence.

If arrested, young would not return to Cedar Creek.

”He won't earn that privilege again," Obenland said.

Young's release date was set for Feb. 2, 2024, DOC officials said.

Young was last seen wearing tan khaki pants, a red sweatshirt and tan jacket. He is described as 6 foot, 3 inches tall, weighing 200 pounds. He has blond hair and blue eyes.