Virginia inmates found at IHOP after digging a hole through wall and escaping jail
(CNN) — Two inmates who escaped from a Newport News, Virginia, jail by digging out and scaling a wall were found at a nearby IHOP hours later Tuesday, officials said.
The Newport News Jail Annex discovered the two inmates, John M. Garza, 37, and Arley V. Nemo, 43, missing during a routine head count around 7 p.m. Monday night, the Newport News Sheriff’s Office said in a news release.
The pair had dug a hole through one of the jail walls using “primitive-made tools” that they constructed out of a toothbrush and metal object, the sheriff’s office said a preliminary investigation revealed. Those tools helped them access untied rebars in the wall, which they then used for the rest of their escape, the agency added.
After getting out, the two encountered containment walls and had to scale a wall to leave the area, the release says.
Garza and Nemo were later found on Tuesday morning at an IHOP in Hampton, Virginia, where they were arrested by police.
“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,” Sheriff Gabe Morgan said in the news release.
The sheriff’s office said they have a team of officers and city facility engineers reviewing the incident and how to “mitigate the aforementioned facility weakness.”
Garza was in custody on charges including contempt of court, probation violations and failure to appear. Nemo was being held on charges of credit card fraud, credit card larceny, forgery, possession of burglary tools, grand larceny, contempt of court and probation violation, according to the sheriff’s office.
A criminal and internal investigation is underway by the sheriff’s office to “minimize the chances of such an event happening again,” the release says.
Charges related to the escape are pending for both inmates, the sheriff’s office said.