Prisoners use toothbrushes to escape and make IHOP run

On Monday night, two inmates of the Newport News Jail Annex in Virginia made an improbable and daring escape from their cells.

John M. Garza, 37, and Arley V. Nemo, 43, succeeded in breaching what authorities discovered was a “construction design weakness” in the wall, using nothing but heightened resourcefulness and a few crude tools fashioned from a toothbrush and a metal object.

Having climbed the wall, Garza and Nemo fled the compound and were not seen again until early Tuesday morning when they were observed at an IHOP restaurant in Hampton, about seven miles away.

The police were contacted around 3:30 a.m. on Tuesday and apprehending the two men was achieved without any major incident. Sheriff Gabe Morgan was thankful to the community, Hampton Police Department, and the James City County Police Department for their support in finding the escaped inmates, praising their work and assistance.

Garza and Nemo, already held in the prison on numerous charges, now face additional charges related to their escape. To that end, the Newport News Sheriff’s Office is conducting a criminal and internal investigation to understand what happened and, more importantly, prevent such occurrences in the future.