GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.- They’re criminals in love and on the run, escaping a halfway house and facing federal charges.
The U.S. Marshals say one is a criminal mastermind and the other has a violent history, a combination that law enforcement fears will produce new victims.
That`s what makes Paula Calderon and Rasheed Sykes two of West Michigan's Most Wanted.
“History has plenty of Bonnie & Clydes, most of them don`t end so gloriously,” Deputy Justin Efthemiou of the U.S. Marshals said.
Sykes and Calderon have been running from authorities since escaping a Grand Rapids halfway house in September 2013.
Efthemiou says they both checked out on a work pass and never returned. Authorities say the two were dropped off in the parking lot, met somewhere, got an alternate ride and left the area.
Efthemiou doesn`t know what motivated the escape, but says their criminal skills make them a lethal pair.
Sykes should be serving time on felony gun charges after shooting and being shot in the back in a drug deal gone bad.
“He’s had a troubled youth since he was 17 and he has a long history of domestic violence; he has a history of robberies, drug dealing and resisting and obstructing police,” Efthemiou says.
Sykes is the son of a former Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety Officer.
Marshals say Calderon is this pair’s criminal mastermind, teaming up with a different boyfriend as court documents reveal they stole checks from mailboxes across the country.
“They would wash the document and being an eraser or a combination of liquid chemical they`d rinse off the print and they’d reprint it and they would go to Meijer stores and they would purchase gift cards with these forged checks,” he said. “They would take the merchandise they purchased with the gift card, take it back and try to get cash with it.”
Those skills have Marshals believing the fugitive couple has assumed new identities and may be out of the state.
“She`s a chameleon, she can blend in anywhere,” Efthemiou said. “She looks like just about anyone you see on the street and she can provide documentation that is just good enough to get her by, and unfortunately because of this she can still be committing this mail fraud.”
A danger in any neighborhood. Calderon more commonly goes by Paula Reagan, but has several aliases.
Efthemiou says she has a medical condition which requires frequent treatment, a possible lead to her whereabouts that law enforcement want healthcare workers to be aware of.
He says HIPPA protects law abiding citizens from their personal information being divulged when it shouldn’t be but being a health care professional there is no worry in turning a wanted patient in.
The Marshals say Sykes is from the Kalamazoo area and so are his family and friends, but Calderon has connections nationwide.
Officials believe Sykes may have just been looking for a way out.
“She was more in love than I think he was,” Efthemiou said. “I’m surprised he hasn’t gotten bored and cut ties.”
And though the life of Bonnie and Clyde may come across with glamour in the movies, Efthemiou says these two lovebirds lives are likely far from luxurious.
“You’ve got to eat when you can, sometimes if you feel like law enforcement is close to you you`re going to eat out of dumpsters, you’re going to get scraps from restaurants and you’re going to live off the street.” He said. “You’re constantly looking over your back waiting when your day is going to come.”
Paula Calderon is 5’1”, 160 pounds with hazel eyes and brown hair. She uses several aliases, the most common being Paula Reagan.
Calderon is originally from Missouri and has ties to Alabama, Baltimore, Mississippi, Washington and Oregon.
Rasheed Sykes is 5’11”, 175 pounds with brown eyes and black hair.
He has several tattoo`s: 'Outlaw' on his left forearm, 'Grim Reaper' on his chest and 'Ghetto Soldier' on his abdomen.
Both are considered armed and dangerous.