After being on the lam for more than a week, the man who escaped from Police Headquarters by breaking through a ceiling was picked up yesterday by police.

Hector Gomez, 28, of Kensington, was taken into custody about 3:15 p.m. "without incident" in the 6100 block of Algard Street in the city's Wissinoming section, police said.

The capture was a joint effort by the homicide fugitive squad and the FBI Fugitive Task Force, according to a police statement. Officer Jillian Russell of the police public-affairs unit said she had no further information.

Gomez was initially arrested Dec. 8 after he was stopped while driving a stolen BMW. Bail was set at $10,000 but Gomez couldn't post the 10 percent, so he offered police a deal. He said he had information about a murder.

He was taken to the Police Headquarters at Eighth and Race Streets, turned over to homicide detectives and put in an interrogation room. That was about 1:30 p.m.

He was not handcuffed or shackled because he was not a murder suspect, police said. For hours, Gomez was left to his own devices. By the time somebody checked in on him at 5 p.m., he was long gone.

An investigation disclosed that he had stood on a chair, punched a hole in the ceiling, crawled over to the next room, kicked out a ceiling tile, and dropped down into the room. But he was still behind a locked door.

Police speculate that Gomez, who is 5-foot-8 and about 140 pounds, hid in a bathroom. When somebody opened the door, he slipped out.

A radio room employee told police that Gomez took the elevator to the lobby, and walked past uniformed officers at the front desk and out the door into eight days of freedom.

Gomez has been arrested at least 15 times for a variety of offenses, including theft, eluding police, resisting arrest and drug offenses.

Now, he faces charges of escape, criminal mischief and vandalism, police said.