Zug, 26.03.2021

Wanted inmate escaped from a car in the city centre

The 29 year old Qendrim Atashi absconded on Tuesday when he was on his way back after a delivery of firewood. He was being accompanied in a car by a prison employee.

It is still unclear where Qendrim Atashi is. The 29-year-old man, who fled during an external work operation on Tuesday afternoon, remains a fugitive, said Frank Kleiner, a spokesman for the Zuger law enforcement agencies on Thursday afternoon. "The search, which was triggered immediately after the alarm was given, has so far been negative," he writes.

The search for the prisoner continues, and an investigation is ongoing. “Numerous background clarifications are also taking place in this context, and an international arrest order has been issued for the wanted man." There have been some indications from the population. "However, the investigations were all negative."

The Zug prison. The escaped inmate had been in pre-trial detention since July 2020, and been serving a preliminary prison sentence since 10 December 2020.
Photo: Werner Schelbert

According to Frank Kleiner, both civilian and uniformed forces are being deployed in the search. "In a first phase, the search focused on the direction of escape or an area where the wanted person could be staying." In a second phase, this search will be aligned towards the investigations that are being carried out in parallel or towards information from the population.

No violence used
But how exactly did the inmate escape? Did he use force? As Frank Kleiner points out, the man was on his way back from a delivery of firewood, accompanied by an employee of the Zug penitentiary. "When the vehicle had to stop at a road junction in the city centre of Zug, he took advantage of the opportunity, opened the passenger door and headed in the general direction of the Parkhotel." No violence was involved.

The wanted man had been in custody since July 2020, and has been serving a preliminary prison sentence since 10 December 2020. According to Frank Kleiner, he is accused of "several dozen" burglaries, vehicle break-ins and vehicle thefts in several cantons.

Such missions take place almost daily
According to Toni Amrein, Head of the Prison service at the Zug Security Directorate (Sicherheitsdirektion), external work assignments take place almost daily. "The authorisation for external work is granted by the competent public prosecutor or court. These assignments only take place with inmates who have shown good behaviour, if no special security precautions are necessary and if, according to the assessments, there is no risk of escape."

When asked about the appropriate security measures, Toni Amrein writes: "The prisoners are always supervised and accompanied by employees of the penitentiary."