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Blair County Prison escapee recaptured in Philadelphia after four months at large

Mugshot of Isaiah Tilghman provided by the Altoona police department.
Altoona Police Department
Mugshot of Isaiah Tilghman from his original arrest.

The Blair County Prison inmate who escaped in December has been captured. The Eastern Pennsylvania Fugitive Task Force arrested Isaiah Tilghman at a Planet Fitness in Philadelphia on Friday, almost four months after his escape. That’s according to the U.S. Marshals Service, which led the Task Force.

Philadelphia Police and K9 officers helped with the arrest. As Tilghman left the fitness center, more than 20 investigators surrounded him and arrested him without incident.

“This arrest was a result of Fugitive Task Forces in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, diligently working together, to capture a dangerous escapee. The Marshals Service is unequivocally the best in the business at finding people who do not wish to be found and this arrest reinforces that fact,” said Robert Clark, supervisory deputy U.S. Marshal for the Eastern Pennsylvania Fugitive Task Force.

Tilghman is now being held at an undisclosed correctional facility until he can be transported back to Blair County to face charges for escape, flight to avoid apprehension and other charges related to his escape.

Tilghman was originally being held at the Blair County Prison for felony drug related offenses and violating his parole.

Hollidaysburg police said Tilghman used a homemade rope made from jail clothes to get out through an unsecured window leading to the prison's roof. Authorities believe he then stole a red F-150 pickup truck and drove it to Philadelphia.

U.S. Marshals said in the four months since his escape they "pursued numerous leads suggesting Tilghman was traveling throughout Pennsylvania."

Five Blair County corrections officers were fired because of Tilghman’s escape, according to reporting by the Altoona Mirror.

Emily Reddy is the news director at WPSU-FM, the NPR-affiliate public radio station for central and northern Pennsylvania.