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 said.
Authorities discovered the two men, ages 37 and 43, 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 rebars 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 again early Tuesday at an IHOP in Hampton when other patrons called police.
“It reinforces what we always say, ‘See something, say something,’” Sheriff Gabe Morgan said.
The sheriff’s office said it is investigating to help prevent further escapes.
One man, who lives in Hampton, had been in custody on charges including contempt of court and probation violations.
Another, a Gloucester resident, was being held on charges including credit card fraud, forgery, grand larceny and probation violation.
Charges related to the escape are pending, the sheriff said.