NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) – The double escape from the Newport News City Jail Annex Monday evening has shown the sheriff his secure facility may not be so secure after all. There are design weaknesses that are part of an internal investigation to figure out how all this happened.
Sheriff Gabe Morgan said until he figures out what’s wrong, he would not do any interviews.
The Newport News Jail Annex is an extension of the main jail that is used when needed. It is considered a medium-security facility and was home to 43-year-old Arley Nemo and 37-year-old John Garza, who were both discovered missing from their cell Monday evening during a routine head count.
The Newport News Sheriff’s Office gave us a picture of the hole through the outer brick wall that Nemo and Garza allegedly cut to escape. They used primitive tools using a toothbrush and metal object.
That hole, now covered with a street sign, is positioned and consistent with what we found taking our own pictures of where that hole was. The sheriff’s report stated that once outside, but still within the containment wall, Nemo and Garza then scaled a wall and fled.
They ended up at a Mercury Boulevard IHOP in Hampton, 5.2 miles away.
It is unclear how the two men got to the IHOP, but an employee and a guest of the restaurant recognized Nemo’s bald head from the news.
One IHOP employee spoke to 10 On Your Side but didn’t want to be identified.
“One of the employees came to me and said, ‘I think that is one of the guys who escaped.’ I said, ‘Are you serious?’ If it is, you need to call the police, and let them know,” the employee said.
About that time, a customer also mentioned Nemo’s escape status, at which point the employee asked everyone to get into the back of the restaurant.
“One of the customers mentioned it to us, the employee said. “I said, ‘Everyone come to the back. Let’s call the police, and that is when we called the police, but I made everyone come to the back. … We didn’t want problems.”
Police arrived and arrested both men without incident. Both were arraigned Wednesday on escape charges and damaging property during the escape.
“It makes me feel a little safer now; if anything happens, the team is all sticking together,” the employee said, laughing.
With another laugh, he added, “”Way to go, IHOP, way to go.”