Leeland Eisenberg, Escaped Clinton Campaign Hostage-Taker, Found

PHOTO: Leeland Eisenberg talks about strapping a fake bomb to himself and taking people hostage at the presidential campaign office of Hillary Rodham Clinton, during an interview from the Strafford County Jail in Dover, N.H., Dec. 4, 2007.

The hunt for Leeland Eisenberg, the man who took hostages at a Hillary Clinton presidential campaign office six years ago, is over.

He has been arrested after walking away from a Manchester, N.H., halfway house Sunday, officials say.

After a tipster alerted authorities, the Manchester Police Department apprehended him around 8:30 a.m. this morning in the lobby of a community resource center, Jeff Lyons, public information officer for the New Hampshire Department of Corrections, said today.

"We don't know exactly what he was doing in the period of time that he was gone but apparently he was looking for job listings" at the time of his arrest, Lyons said.

He was being held in the lowest level security status because he would have been eligible for parole in August.

Lyons said Eisenberg will now be sent the New Hampshire State Prison in Concord. "He hadn't been a disciplinary problem for us so there was no reason for him to not to be held on minimum status," he said.

Eisenberg, 52, has been serving time there since May 2010, when a judge ruled that he violated his probation by testing positive for drugs and alcohol and cutting off a pair of monitoring devices.

Lyons said Eisenberg was placed on "walk-away" status from the Calumet Transitional Housing Unit at 3 p.m. Sunday. He was discovered missing after a resident headcount determined he was not in his room.

"We do four headcounts a day and he was there for the 11:00 a.m. check but not for the 3:00 p.m. check," he said.

He was never considered dangerous, or armed. He has been charged with escape, a felony punishable by 3 ½ to 7 years in prison even though he was almost eligible for parole. Eisenberg's arrest record includes a number of parole violations, driving under the influence, two rape convictions and two counts of stalking.

But he is most notoriously known for his role in the taking of hostages at a New Hampshire campaign office of then Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton. He was ultimately convicted of multiple counts of kidnapping, criminal threatening and false reports of explosives.

Eisenberg appeared at the office in Rochester in 2007 strapped with what looked like dynamite but was road flares duct-taped to his chest. He initially entered demanding to talk to Clinton about his desire to get psychiatric assistance, which he had been denied because he didn't have the money. He ended up taking several hostages, including an infant.

While holding them captive, Eisenberg had a hostage call CNN three times to make known his desperate need for mental health care.

CNN quoted his saying, "I need to speak to Hillary Clinton. Something's got to change. Ordinary people need help" with their insurance.

Clinton was in Washington at the time.

Three days prior to the incident, Eisenberg's wife filed for divorce and was expected to appear in court with him that day for domestic-violence charges. At the time, he was being considered for federal charges and he was also being held on alleged state charges of reckless conduct.

This is not the first time Eisenberg has fled while serving jail time.

In 1985, Eisenberg was sentenced to 10 years for a rape conviction. A year later he escaped from jail and committed another rape. He was then sentenced to another 11 to 20 years. In 2005, he was released.

Five years later, in January 2010, he was incarcerated for failing to take mandatory alcohol breath tests during probation and a month later he cut off his GPS monitoring device and fled a day after being released by a judge despite a record of multiple probation violations. Eisenberg was found in his apartment in Dover the next day.

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