At-large Prison Escapee Found at UCSB

Anonymous Tip Leads to 61-year-old's Arrest

The man authorities believe to be Roger Crona in 2008 (right) and Crona in 1972.

An anonymous phone call tip to the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Department has led to the arrest of a man who allegedly escaped from a Michigan prison 36 years ago, according to authorities.

Authorities allege, and apparently have backed up through forensic technology, according to Sheriff’s Department Sgt. Alex Tipolt, that 61-year-old prison escapeeRoger Crona has been working at UCSB under the alias Jason Von Straussenburg. According to UCSB spokesman Paul Desruisseaux, the man known as Jason Von Straussenburg worked as a Developmental Technician in the Biological Sciences Department. Desruisseaux said university officials were still trying to determine how long the man had worked on campus. The anonymous caller said Crona had been living in Goleta for several years. A woman who answered the phone at Von Straussenburg’s Goleta home took a message and said someone would reply to inquiries later.

On the Michigan Department of Corrections website, Jason Von Straussenburg is listed as one of four aliases for Crona. He was arrested at UCSB Friday without incident on an outstanding arrest warrant for prison escape. The man is currently in Santa Barbara County Jail awaiting extradition to Michigan.

According to the Michigan Department of Corrections offenders website, Crona was in prison for altering registration plates and possession of a forged registration, felonies in the state of Michigan. He had been in prison for just more than two months when he escaped. He had previously served a four year and seven month sentence for “receiving stolen property.” Details surrounding Crona’s escape are scant, though it is known he escaped June 20, 1972, from the G. Robert Cotton Correctional Facility in Jackson, Mich. An after hours call to the Michigan Department of Corrections wasn’t answered. Tipolt said the department didn’t have any information on Crona’s past. “The mystery lies with him,” Tipolt said. “How was he able to elude any type of law enforcement for that many years? It’s definitely interesting from many aspects.”

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