On the run since 1980, Mississippi fugitive now back behind bars - WLBT.com - Jackson, MS

On the run since 1980, Mississippi fugitive now back behind bars

Sam Gene Harris Source: Carbon County Sheriff's Office Sam Gene Harris Source: Carbon County Sheriff's Office
A fugitive from the Mississippi Department of Corrections who has been on the run for 34 years has been caught in Utah.

Sam Gene Harris, 62, escaped from Forrest County Community Work Center in MS in 1980. The work center houses what law enforcement consider to be non-violent offenders.

Harris was arrested Thursday at his home in Wellington City, UT. 

According to the Carbon County Sheriff's Office, he has been living under the name Wayne Edward Stevens for the last 20 years.

"He's been living there for 23 years right under everybody's noses, " Wood told KSL News in Salt Lake City.

Harris was arrested in Jones County, MS in July 1980. He was serving a four-year sentence for his conviction on charges of shoplifting and possession of burglary tools when he escaped in November 1980, according to Mississippi Department of Corrections spokeswoman Tara Scott.

Records about the escape are so old that corrections staff would have to go through microfiche to provide additional details about the incident, Scott said.

According to information from KSL News, on Thursday detectives went to conduct surveillance on a house in Wellington where Harris was believed to be living. During the surveillance, Harris came outside and detectives arrested him without incident at about 10:45 a.m.

"Mr. Harris has built an extensive criminal history throughout the country and uses a number of aliases," according to a statement issued Friday by the sheriff's office. "Most of his previous crimes are theft related."

Authorities in UT tell KSL News that Harris had a UT driver's license issued under the Stevens alias and has even had law enforcement contact under that alias. State court records, however, don't show any criminal cases for an individual named Wayne Edward Stevens.

Harris is being held in the Carbon County Jail. Wellington police are leading a joint investigation into his history in UT.

Copyright 2015 MSNewsNow. All rights reserved. Additional information from KSL News.

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