Inmates Caught at IHOP After Escaping Jail Using a Toothbrush

Two Virginia jail escapees were detained after escaping from their jail cell through a hole carved out by a sharp toothbrush.

Inmates Escape Through Manmade Wall Hole

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.

IHOP may not have been the first place that two inmates went after sneaking out of a jail in Newport News, Virginia, but IHOP is where they were caught.

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.

John M. Garza, 37, and Arley V. Nemo, 43, are the inmates in question, and they used a toothbrush to sand their way out of a cell.

Actual Jail Escape Hole

It was actually a toothbrush and piece of metal in what the Newport News Sheriff’s office described as “primitive-made tools.”

Authorities Asked The Public For Help

Authorities 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.

“The two men began to exploit a construction design weakness utilising primitive-made tools constructed from a tooth brush and metal object,” informed the NNSO in a press release. 

“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.”

“I’m thankful for the citizens who observed Garza and Nemo at the IHOP and notified law enforcement,” the sheriff said.

Garza and Nemo Back in Jail

Garza had been lodged in prison since December last year on charges of contempt of court, probation violations and failure to appear. Meanwhile, Nemo had a big roster of charges ranging from forgery, possession of burglary tools, and credit card larceny to contempt of court and a probation violation. 

Charges related to the escape were pending, the sheriff said.

After the arrest, the Sherrif’s office said it will not be giving out additional information until the structural weaknesses of the prison were rectified.

“Due to the fact that this weakness presents itself throughout the facility, and until all weaknesses are identified and secured, we will not discuss the situation further for security reasons,” read the statement. 

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