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An arrest warrant has been issued for a man who fled a sex-offender treatment center’s custody Saturday during an outing at a Chinese restaurant, authorities said.
The felony warrant was issued for Randy Layton, 37.
Layton escaped from the custody of the Arizona State Hospital’s Arizona Community Protection and Treatment Center staff on Saturday during an off-site treatment activity at the Red Wok Buffet near 34th Street and Thomas Road in Phoenix, officials said. He also removed an electronic monitoring device, which is cited in the warrant along with his escape.
Patients at the facility are all men who are sexually violent, who have completed their prison sentences but have been ordered by a judge to stay at the center, according to Holly Ward, spokeswoman for the Arizona Department of Health Services.
?Court records show that Layton was arrested in 2003 for attempting to commit sexual conduct with a minor. He was admitted into prison in 2005 and was released from prison in 2010.
Yuan Chen, one of the managers at Red Wok Buffet, said the group came in for dinner. Chen said Layton was at the buffet grabbing a plate when he began to flee the restaurant.
Video surveillance shows Layton leaving the restaurant and running toward the parking lot. Moments later a staff member from the Arizona State Hospital chases after him. Then an employee of the restaurant exits the restaurant and stands close by.
Ward said the frequency of outings like the one Layton escaped from at Red Wok Buffet are determined by hospital staff and depend on how the person is doing in the community “as a productive citizen,” according to Ward.
The Arizona Community Protection and Treatment Center has patients with various levels of severity. Some don’t get to go outside, while others can go out for work or other off-site rehabilitation activities that the hospital doesn’t offer, like therapy or social outings, Ward said.
Ward said Phoenix police were notified immediately after Layton escaped.
Details on Layton’s sexual offense were not immediately available.
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