MADISON — The search continues for Dylan Perkins, the 20-year-old fugitive who escaped over the wall of the Somerset County Jail in East Madison just 10 days before the end of his sentence.

Officials said Tuesday that Perkins’ situation could make him dangerous.

“He’s never been one to display any type of aggressive behavior,” said Lt. Carl Gottardi of the Somerset County Sheriff’s Department. “But anybody in a desperate situation has the potential to possibly be dangerous. Now they’re in a different situation — they’re escaped, they’re desperate, they obviously don’t want to be captured.”

Gottardi said that people who see or have knowledge of Perkins shouldn’t get directly involved, but should call police to let them handle it.

The trail for Perkins, who is 5 feet, 8 inches tall, weighs 147 pounds and has strawberry blond hair, went cold late Monday afternoon, hours after he abandoned a kitchen work crew, scaled a wall, and ran into the woods wearing a white jumpsuit and black moccasins.

At times, police were just minutes behind Perkins, Gottardi said, but the inmate evaded the active manhunt despite the use of a search plane and dog units scouring the woods and roads.

“We’re still following up on a few leads or tips, ruling everything out,” said Gottardi said.

Gottardi said that he didn’t know why Perkins, whose sentence ended on July 27, would attempt an escape that could cost him an additional five years behind bars.

Gottardi said that other pending charges against Perkins may have been a factor.

In 2010, he was sentenced in Somerset County Superior Court to six months on a charge of eluding an officer. He also has been convicted of aggravated criminal mischief.

The escape will automatically trigger a review of the jail’s practices to see whether systems should be improved, said Gottardi.

“The jail staff reviews to see if all of their policies and procedures were followed, and they also look at if there’s anything that could be done better,” said Gottardi.

Gottardi added that Perkins status as a trustee, a security designation that allows more freedom than the general population, earned him access to the low-security kitchen area from which he escaped.

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