Residents of a town in north-west Spain have banded together to try to track down a convicted murderer – nicknamed the “Galician Rambo” for his multiple jailbreaks and extensive knowledge of survival techniques – who is believed to be living in a nearby wooded area.
Alfredo Sánchez Chacón has been on the run since March when he failed to return to prison after being allowed out on a day pass. News that the 63-year-old was missing probably surprised few: Sánchez Chacón, who is due to be in prison until 2025 for a murder in 1996, was already notorious across Spain for slipping out of prison twice.
His first escape was in 1999 when he reportedly strung together a series of sheets to shimmy down the walls of the Pontevedra prison as other inmates distracted the guards. For more than two years he remained on the run, using his training as a former member of the Spanish Legion to hide out in the dense brush of northern Spain.
In 2001 he managed to again break out of prison but his taste of freedom lasted just 25 minutes before he was caught, according to the newspaper La Voz de Galicia.
This time around it was months before alarm bells began to sound in the small town of Pontedeume, in Galicia, about 65 miles (105km) from the prison. At the end of summer, the municipality’s 7,900 residents began trading stories of items that had mysteriously gone missing from their kitchens: packages of biscuits, cans of beer and cold cuts.
Others had closer calls: one person recounted how he had stumbled across a man in his kitchen, peering into an open fridge, in the middle of the night.
Suspicions that it could be Sánchez Chacón intensified last week after a hunter stumbled upon a man who matched the fugitive’s description living in a makeshift camp in the dense woods of the Fragas do Eume park near the town.
Desperate residents soon came together, with eight of them announcing a patrol capable of combing the area for traces of Sánchez Chacón. “It’s outrageous that we’re caught in this,” one resident told La Voz de Galicia, while another hinted that this might not be the residents’ first brush with the Galician Rambo. “He was already hiding in the Fragas do Eume [park] more than 20 years ago, in another of his famous escapes.”