NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — Two inmates in a Virginia jail used primitively made tools to create a hole in the wall of their cell and escape only to be found hours later at an IHOP restaurant nearby, a sheriff’s office said.
Arley Vaughn Nemo and John Michael Garza escaped custody just before 6 p.m. Monday. The two men were found missing from their cell in the Newport News jail annex during a routine head count Monday evening, according to a statement from the Newport News Sheriff’s Office.
A preliminary investigation found the men exploited a weakness in the jail’s construction design and used tools made from a toothbrush and a metal object to access rebar between the walls — and then used the rebar to further their escape, the statement said. After escaping their cell, they scaled a containment wall around the jail.
Authorities had asked for the public’s help to find the men, and they were taken into custody early Tuesday at an IHOP in Hampton, Virginia, when other patrons called the police.
“It reinforces what we always say, ‘See something, say something,’” Sheriff Gabe Morgan said.
Garza, 37, of Hampton, had been in custody since Dec. 19 on charges including contempt of court, probation violations and failure to appear.
Nemo, 43, of Gloucester, had been in custody since Oct. 7 on charges including credit card fraud, credit card larceny, forgery, possession of burglary tools, grand larceny, contempt of court and probation violation.
The sheriff’s office said it is investigating to help prevent further escapes. Charges related to the escape are pending.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.