LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A bomb scare in downtown Las Vegas on Wednesday afternoon was connected to escaped prisoner Porfirio Duarte-Herrera, the 42-year-old man who was serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole.

Since Duarte-Herrera was taken into custody Wednesday night, Nevada Department of Corrections Director Charles Daniels resigned at Gov. Steve Sisolak’s request, and attention has turned to a list of other recent problems in prisons.

The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department responded to the call of a suspicious device — an item brought to downtown Las Vegas by authorities after an inventory of Duarte-Herrera’s prison cell.

Las Vegas police investigate a suspicious item in downtown Las Vegas on Wednesday, Sept. 28 (KLAS)

“The Nevada Department of Corrections conducted an inventory of the cell and there was a briefing at the Marshal office downtown,” according to Metro Cpt. Branden Clarkson. “During the investigation of what they had was suspicious, so LVMPD responded.”

Duarte-Herrera had left what authorities describe as a suspicious device in his cell when he escaped from the Southern Desert Correctional Center on Friday, Sept. 23. An investigator with Nevada prisons drove it downtown.

Booking photo of Porfirio Duarte-Herrera taken on Sept. 28, 2022. Duarte-Herrera, 42, is serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole for murder at the Southern Desert Correctional Center, records showed. (LVMPD/KLAS)

The device was determined to be safe, but it’s unclear why it was brought downtown in the first place.

U.S. Marshal Gary Schofield issued a statement thanking Metro for taking steps to ensure the security of the courts during the operation, which unfolded near federal property.

Duarte-Herrera placed a bomb in a coffee cup at the Luxor in 2007, resulting in a man’s death. He was in the medium-security prison when he escaped a week ago, and NDOC staff didn’t notice he was missing until Tuesday morning.

Southern Desert Correctional Center is the same prison where there was a riot in December of 2021. NDOC tried to cover that up, and 8 News Now Investigators exposed how bad things were at the prison after months of research.

Prison insiders have expressed concerns about staffing. Inmates say they’re not receiving proper medical care, and their loved ones have tried to sound the alarm about their safety.

Nearby at High Desert State Prison, 8 News Now learned about an inmate’s murder earlier this week. And earlier in September, two suicides occurred within hours. The murder of an inmate by his cellmate last year happened after numerous warning signs.

The escape adds to the perception of a prison system in disarray.

“This cannot happen again,” Sisolak said.