California prison fugitive arrested in Montgomery County community

April 07, 1992|By David Michael Ettlin | David Michael Ettlin,Staff Writer

A convicted robber who escaped 17 years ago from a California prison program has been arrested in Montgomery County, where he was living in recent weeks in a community of $500,000 homes, authorities announced yesterday.

The fugitive -- Gregory Wayne Clutchette, 46, -- had been arrested in 1988 in neighboring Prince George's County but was released on bond using a phony identification before a fingerprint check with the FBI turned up his true identity, police said.

Authorities, who found disguises in the man's Gaithersburg home, were trying to determine yesterday what Clutchette has been doing since his escape from a community work project in California in February 1975 and since his 1988 disappearance in Maryland.

A Montgomery County police spokeswoman was unable to say last night what Clutchette had been arrested for in 1988.

Clutchette was most recently arrested Friday night near his home in the 21000 block of Foxlair Road in Gaithersburg.

Neighbors in the Goshen Estates community said he had moved in a few weeks ago, and apparently was renting the house.

A resident across the street said he saw several women and children at the house, noticed that they had a few new cars -- including a Mercedes Benz and at least two minivans -- but had not seen Clutchette until Friday night, about an hour before at least a dozen plainclothes police officers descended on the property.

Clutchette, who had been serving a term of six years to life in California, used aliases including the names James Allen, Mumi Qwai and Gregory Black, according to Montgomery police spokeswoman Ann B. Evans.

Surveillance of three women who picked up mail and packages at a Gaithersburg post office box police believed had been rented by Clutchette led investigators to the neighborhood, police said.

Clutchette was not armed and gave no resistance when he was arrested.

A subsequent search of the house turned up firearms, ammunition, disguises, false identification documents and equipment to manufacture false IDs, police said.

Ms. Evans said investigators were trying to determine how Clutchette was supporting his expensive lifestyle.

"He gave no indication he was working," the police spokeswoman said. "This is just the beginning. We're sure there must be more to this guy."

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