(CMR) Two Virginia inmates, John Garza, and Arley Nemo, escaped from custody on Monday by digging a hole through their cell wall with a toothbrush and a metal object. They then fled the Newport News jail and went to a nearby IHOP.
The inmates were later apprehended seven miles away from the jail by the Newport News Sheriff's Office, with the help of the James City County Police Department, Newport News Police Department, and the Hampton Police Department. Bystanders at the IHOP had noticed the two inmates and called the police.
Garza was charged with contempt of court, breaking the terms of his probation, and failing to appear, while Nemo was being held on suspicion of grand theft, forgery, credit card fraud, credit card larceny, possession of burglary tools, contempt of court, and probation violation.
The inmates used “primitive-made tools made from a toothbrush and metal object” to reach exposed rebars between the walls of their cell and then used rebar to break a small hole in the wall so they could climb through. They scaled the containment wall after escaping their detention cell and fled to the IHOP.
Sheriff Gabriel Morgan expressed his gratitude to the police departments and the people who saw Garza and Nemo at the IHOP and alerted the authorities. He also reinforced the “See something, say something” policy.
According to the sheriff, the convicts made their getaway by taking advantage of “a building design vulnerability.” The facilities management and engineering team is examining the facility's security and will make sure the building is strengthened.
The sheriff's office is also investigating internally to stop further escapes, and further penalties for their IHOP journey are anticipated for both escapees.