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Topeka man escapes from minimum security prison

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) -- A Topeka man is on the run after escaping from a minimum security unit at the Hutchinson Correctional Facility where he was being held on burglary and shoplifting convictions.

The Topeka Capital-Journal (http://bit.ly/12PKB9T) reports Mark Edward Lucas fled from the facility between 1 and 2 p.m. Saturday. The 44-year-old is described as 6 feet tall, 180 pounds with brown hair and hazel eyes.

A Shawnee County judge called Lucas a "serial shoplifter" when sentencing him in October 2012 for stealing a DVD player and wireless router from a Topeka Walmart where was permanently banned.

Lucas told the judge his crack cocaine habit drove him to steal. He has entered guilty or no contest pleas to resolve at least 19 previous theft cases.

His earliest possible release date is March 2023.