Up in smoke: Near end of 4-year sentence, man smokes pot, escapes from halfway facility

State prison inmate Donta Baker was approaching the finish line. 

He had just one month to go in a reentry facility in Los Angeles and his four-year sentence for grand theft would be fully served.

Then prison officials said Baker tested positive for marijuana use.

And with that, they said, he allegedly walked out of the reentry facility about 5:20 p.m. Monday. He left behind a GPS device, said Terry Thornton, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

"He could face new charges for escaping," she said.

Prison officials notified law enforcement agencies in the area after they learned he was missing. Correctional officers were also sent out to look for Baker and are seeking help from the public.

Baker, described as 6 foot 1 and 205 pounds, arrived in prison Dec. 6, 2013, after being convicted of grand theft exceeding $950.

Officials said he was then transferred from the California Institution for Men to the Male Community Reentry Program in Los Angeles on Feb. 2.

The program allows eligible inmates to serve the end of their sentences at the center. The program links offenders to a range of community-based rehabilitative services that include help with substance use disorders, education, and housing.

Had he not smoked marijuana and then walked away, Baker would have been released to parole in mid-April.

Anyone with information on Baker's whereabouts should call 911.

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