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UPDATE: Alabama jailbreak - how a dozen inmates used peanut butter to break free

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UPDATE: MONTGOMERY, AL (AP) — A dozen inmates escaped from an Alabama jail by using peanut butter to change the numbers above a door and trick a new employee into opening another door that led outside, a sheriff said Monday.

The inmates changed the number above a cell to the number that identified the door leading outside the jail. So, when an inmate asked a young, inexperienced jailer to let him into his cell, the jailer was fooled into opening the outside door instead.

The group then fled, throwing off their orange uniforms and using blankets to climb over a fence topped with razor wire on Sunday evening.

"It may sound crazy, but these people are crazy like a fox," Walker County Sheriff James Underwood said at a news conference in Jasper.

Inmates "scheme all the time to con us and our employees at the jail," Underwood added. "You have to stay on your toes. This is one time we slipped up. I'm not going to make any excuses."

The sheriff said the inmates "went off in every direction," but all but one were captured within eight hours, and the sheriff said he hoped the last prisoner would be back in custody by the end of the day Monday.

The 11 were arrested without violence, and the only person seriously hurt was an inmate who sliced his thumb climbing over the fence, the sheriff said.

The fugitives were between 18 and 30, facing charges ranging from disorderly conduct to attempted murder.

A manhunt continued for the last fugitive, Bradley Andrew Kilpatrick, 24, of Cordova, who had been jailed on charges of possessing marijuana and drug paraphernalia. That search was getting some airborne help from a state helicopter.

Underwood estimated that the inmates had cleared the barbed wire fence in less than 10 minutes.

"They took advantage of a young fellow that hadn't been here very long" and who had to monitor 150 inmates at a time, the sheriff said. They apparently saved peanut butter from food regularly served at the jail.

"They love peanut butter sandwiches," the sheriff said.


PREVIOUS STORY: Twelve inmates escaped from the Walker County Jail in Alabama, on Sunday night, according to authorities, as a manhunt to recapture them all got underway.

As of Monday morning, 11 inmates had been recaptured, but one inmate — Brady Andrew Kilpatrick — still remained at large.

Jail staff was performing routine duties inside the facility when they noticed a dozen inmates missing, the Walker County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.

Two of the inmates who had escaped are charged with attempted murder. Others had minor charges such as failure to appear.

Kilpatrick, 24, was arrested for possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, and possession of marijuana.

The names of the recaptured inmates are: Steven Blake Lamb, 28, of Quinton; Christopher Michael Smith, age 19, of Jasper; Michael Adam McGuff, 30, of Jasper; Larry Inman Jr., 29, of Parrish; Ethan Howard Pearl, 24, of Jasper; Johnny Richard Hunter, 26, of Jasper; Christopher Cole Spain, 18, of Jasper; Kristopher Keith Secrest, 20, of Oakman; Quadrekas Latoddrick Key, 21, of Parrish; Timothy Chaz Cooper, 28, of Cordova; Steven Sanford Hartley, 27, of Hoover.

Police urged local residents “stay indoors and turn on all outdoor lighting” as the manhunt for the escapees continued through the night. Jasper Police Department, which is in Walker County, joined in the search efforts Sunday night to recapture the escapees.

It was not immediately clear how the 12 inmates broke free, and officials said an investigation has been launched to discover how the inmates were able to escape from the facility.

The Walker County Jail has the capacity for a total of 250 inmates, according to its website. It has 31 beds in its maximum security unit and 35 beds in its minimum security unit. It was not immediately clear how many staff members work at the jail.

The Sheriff’s Office said it would offer a $500 reward for information leading to the capture of the last inmate. 

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