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At-large felon back in custody

Apr 17, 2012 - By Christina George, Staff Writer

A felon who had been at large since after mistakenly being released from the Wyoming State Penitentiary was arrested Monday at a Riverton residence.

Riverton Police Department Capt. Eric Murphy said his agency arrested Arthur Penrod, 28, of Rawlins, on a Wyoming Department of Corrections warrant at about 12:20 p.m. Monday.

Murphy said an officer in an unmarked car spotted Penrod taking out garbage at his girlfriend's house at 2401 Garnet Ave.

According to the Department of Corrections, Penrod was put on at-large status April 10 shortly after it was determined he had been wrongfully released from the penitentiary in Rawlins.

Penrod had finished a prison sentence for burglary and was scheduled to complete a consecutive sentence for aiding in an aggravated assault when he was released last week, the department said in a news release.

Murphy said a Casper law enforcement team was monitoring text messages and believed Penrod's girlfriend, Tonia Abeyta-Noriega, 24, lived in Riverton.

After learning the woman's address, Murphy said an investigator stood by at the home. Within 10 minutes, Murphy said the investigator got a possible ID on Penrod.

"(Penrod) walked outside and took the trash out," Murphy said.

Murphy said when officers knocked on the door and asked if Abeyta-Noriega was alone at the residence, she replied "yes."

"But (the investigator) saw him walk inside. So when somebody lies, they are interfering with our investigation," he said.

Abeyta-Noriega was arrested for interference and taken to the Fremont County Detention Center in Lander. She was expected to appear at Riverton Circuit Court on Tuesday.

Murphy said Penrod was arrested without incident.

"Our uniform guys arrived and arrested him," Murphy said. "They said he came out willingly and had his hands up and didn't give them any problems."

Penrod was taken to the police department.

"As soon as we got him back here we contacted the Department of Corrections in Rawlins, and they immediately sent a transportation team," Murphy said. "They picked him up at around 3 p.m. and went back to Rawlins."

The Department of Corrections is conducting an internal investigation concerning Penrod's wrongful release.

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