Escaped cons who dug their way out of prison with a toothbrush have been recaptured by police as they tucked into breakfast pancakes at a diner.
The pair were detained at the IHOP (International House Of Pancakes) in Hampton, in the US state of Virginia, about seven miles from the prison in the early hours of Tuesday, 21st March.
The convicts have been named as John M. Garza, 37, and 43-year-old Arley V. Nemo.
Newport News Police Department (NNPD) said they escaped from the Newport News Jail Annex in the US state of Virginia just hours earlier, on the evening of Monday, 20th March.
The pair had used a toothbrush and a metal object to tunnel through their cell wall and an internal fence and then climbed over the outer fence.
Newsflash obtained a statement from the NNPD on Tuesday, 21st March, saying: “In a matter of hours, two inmates who had escaped from the Newport News Jail Annex were back in custody.
“John M. Garza, 37, and Arley V. Nemo, 43, were discovered missing from their cell during routine head count around 7:15pm on Monday, March 20.
“Hampton Police Department officers arrested them at the IHOP in Hampton in the early morning hours of Tuesday, March 21.”
The NNPD said that the Newport News Sheriff’s Office (NNSO) began investigating after discovering that the two men had exploited “a construction design weakness utilizing primitive-made tools constructed from a toothbrush and metal object”.
They added: “Those tools facilitated their access to untied rebars between the walls. Once gaining access to the rebar, they used it to further make their escape.
“Once outside but still within the containment wall, Garza and Nemo proceeded to scale the wall and departed the area.”
Sheriff Gabe Morgan said: “I extend my gratitude to the Newport News Police Department, the Hampton Police Department, and the James City County Police Department for their assistance in our attempt to recapture these inmates.
“Moreover, I’m thankful for the citizens who observed Garza and Nemo at the IHOP and notified law enforcement. It reinforces what we always say ‘see something, say something’.”
The police said Garza, who lives in Hampton, was in custody facing charges of contempt of court and probation violations.
Nemo, a resident of Gloucester, also in Virginia, was being held for credit card fraud, forgery, possession of burglary tools, grand larceny, contempt of court, and probation violation.
The police now are going to bring additional charges related to the escape.