PHOENIX (AP) — An Arizona inmate being held on attempted murder and robbery charges escaped from his jail cell Sunday before detectives apprehended him hours later in downtown Phoenix, said Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
Adan Orduno Jr. gained access to an overhead crawl space by tearing open a hole in the ceiling of his county jail cell, Arpaio said. The crawl space eventually led the 26-year-old inmate to a fence, which he climbed to escape the facility, Arpaio said. Orduno was discovered missing just before 9 a.m. and authorities captured him around 6:15 p.m., according to the sheriff.
"We were fortunate to arrest him quickly," Arpaio said.
Orduno was being questioned by authorities late Sunday and booked on suspicion of escape, the Arizona Republic reported. Officer Christopher Hegstrom, a sheriff's spokesman, said the escape was the first for the 7-year-old south Phoenix facility.
Before his escape, Orduno stripped off his black-and-white jail stripes, placed the suit and milk cartons on his bed and then draped a blanket over the top in an attempt to lead officers to believe he was in his cell sleeping, according to the sheriff.
"He probably escaped with the pink underwear I make all these guys wear," Arpaio said.
The Arizona lawman, who rose to prominence by toughening conditions in his jails, famously forces inmates to wear striped jail suits and pink underwear. The inmates also are banned from cigarettes and porn magazines.
After Orduno jumped the county jail fence, a driver apparently saw him, picked him up and took the suspect to his mother's house, Arpaio said. The suspect was able to change into jeans and a jacket.
Later Sunday, an investigation led undercover officers to arrange a meeting with Orduno at 7th Avenue and McDowell Road in Phoenix, where he was arrested, Arpaio said.
Authorities originally thought Orduno might have been hiding somewhere at the sprawling jail, which also houses Arpaio's famous "tent city" lockup. But jail personnel searched the 600,000-square-foot complex and determined Orduno wasn't here.
The entire facility, which holds about 2,000 inmates, was placed on lockdown once detention officers discovered Orduno wasn't in his cell, the Arizona Republic reported. Authorities also warned the public to be on the lookout for Orduno, whom the sheriff described as a violent "troublemaker."
Orduno has served time in state prison for burglary, theft and aggravated assault, online state records show.
He was being held at the Maricopa County jail on attempted murder and robbery charges. The Republic reported the charges stemmed from an October 2011 robbery at a Phoenix jewelry store that led to a police chase in which either Orduno or an accomplice fired at pursuing officers. No one was injured.
Orduno had been in custody since Phoenix police arrested him Nov. 4, 2011, and he recently was declared competent to stand trial.
Deputy Chief Brian Lee, another sheriff's spokesman, said the cell that Orduno occupied at the jail's psychiatric ward had a small window. Detention officers look through the windows every 15 minutes to check on inmates, per department protocol, he said.