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Alleged Prison Escapee from ‘72 Arrested after Tip

UCSB biology shop employee alleged to be man who fled from Michigan prison 35 years ago.

A UCSB employee who allegedly escaped from a Michigan prison in 1972 was arrested by Santa Barbara County sheriff’s detectives Friday.


Jason VonStraussenburg, who detectives say is really named Roger Crona, was arrested without incident on an outstanding warrant issued by the Michigan Department of Corrections for Prison Escape.

Crona is 61, deputies said. He had been working as a technician in the biology shop of UCSB’s Ecology, Evolution and Marine Biology Department.

A Sheriff’s Department news release Monday did not mention why Crona was incarcerated in Michigan 35 years ago, but the Michigan Corrections Department Web site says an escaped prisoner by the same name had been booked on suspicion of altering registered license plates and possession of forged registration, as well as possession of stolen property.

Sheriff’s detectives were tipped by an anonymous caller who said the escapee was living in Goleta under the assumed name of Jason VonStraussenburg.

Further investigation revealed that Crona had escaped from the G. Robert Cotton Correctional Facility on June 20, 1972, and was listed by the Michigan Department of Corrections as one of its most wanted escapees, said sheriff’s Sgt. Alex Tipolt, a department spokesman.

A forensic test provided a positive match between VonStraussenburg and Crona, Tipolt said.

Crona was booked into Santa Barbara County Jail and is currently awaiting extradition to Michigan.

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