Prisoners Escape Virginia Jail by Digging Tunnel With Toothbrush; Caught at IHOP

Two prisoners, John Garza and Arley Nemo, who were being held at the Newport News jail in Virginia, USA (United States of America), escaped lockup after digging a tunnel with a toothbrush and were later arrested at the International House of Pancakes (IHOP).

According to reports from the New York Times, 37-year-old Garza was being held on multiple charges, including contempt of court, breaking the terms of his probation, and failing to appear. His fellow escapee, 43-year-old Nemo, had been charged with credit card larceny, forgery, possession of burglary tools, grand larceny, contempt of court, and probation violation. The authorities said that Garza and Nemo exploited a weakness in the jail’s construction design to make their escape.

John M. Garza (left), and Arley V. Nemo (right),
Image – Newport News Sheriff’s

The inmates broke open their cell wall with primitively made tools created from a toothbrush and a metal object to gain access to unsecured rebars between the walls. Garza and Nemo then used a rebar to break a small hole in the wall so they could climb through.

Image – Newport News Sheriff’s

Both men scaled the containment wall after escaping their cell and fled the Newport News jail on Monday. Nemo and Garza travelled approximately seven miles undetected until they were spotted on Tuesday morning by bystanders at an IHOP restaurant, who then informed the police of their location.

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Reports state that an engineering and facility management team from Newport News is assessing the jail’s security and will ensure it is strengthened. Garza and Nemo are expected to face additional charges, and the sheriff’s office is conducting an internal investigation as well as a criminal investigation to prevent future escapes.

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