Escaped prisoners found at IHOP hours after breaking through jail wall with toothbrush, metal object

A toothbrush and a metal object were all that two inmates at a Virginia jail needed to escape their captivity, but their time on the run came to an abrupt end when they decided to stop at IHOP.

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The sheriff’s office said the inmates used “primitive-made tools” to carve their way out of their cell at the Newport News Jail annex, The Associated Press reported. Their absence was discovered during a routine head count on Monday evening, the sheriff’s office said.

Officials said the men, identified as John Garza and Arley Nemo, exploited a weakness in the jail’s design to cut through the wall to access rebar, then used that to get out before they had to scale a wall to freedom, The Washington Post reported.

Law enforcement had told people in the area to be on the lookout for the two men and eagle-eyed patrons at a Hampton, Virginia, IHOP thwarted the prisoners’ plans for freedom and called the police. That’s where officials found Nemo and Garza, however, officials did not say if they were still in their prison uniforms, the Post reported.

There is also no word on what drew them to IHOP, but they were back in police custody after only hours of freedom, the Post reported.

Nemo had been held on various charges including credit card fraud, forgery and possession of burglary tools before the escape while Garza had been in custody for probation violations and contempt of court, according to the Post.

Charges for the escape are pending for both Nemo and Garza, the AP reported.

As for the jail’s design that allowed Nemo and Garza to get out, the city’s facility engineers are reviewing what happened and are coming up with ways to “mitigate the aforementioned facility weakness,” CNN reported.

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