A Hamilton County jail inmate sat in a holding cell for three days before he escaped.

Despite our requests, the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office is not releasing details on how Coty Dilbeck escaped, but they say he was on the first floor when it happened.

A spokesperson sent a statement saying, “We do not want to give specific details about how the escape occurred for security reasons but also we do not want to give future inmates the idea or knowledge to try and escape by the same method.”

This is the first time in 2019, a Hamilton County inmate has escaped from the jail located in downtown Chattanooga, according to a spokesperson. There were no inmate escapes reported last year.

Before Dilbeck’s arrest on January 4, he was caught on camera stealing a white Dodge truck from his job, Miller Industries. The company has not responded to our calls for a statement.

A Chattanooga police report says Dilbeck drove off in the truck five minutes after he clocked out of work. Two days later, a BOLO alert went out.

Bradley County Sheriff deputies spotted the stolen truck 16 miles away in South Cleveland. They say Dilbeck lives in Cleveland and has had previous run-ins with police there.

Two and a half hours later Dilbeck was arrested.
“A BOLO for escaped convicts in our area that much would be considered uncommon, but the idea that we receive a bolo is not,” said Adam Lewis, spokesperson for the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office.

Dilbeck was booked and held at the Hamilton County jail before he escaped on January 7.

After his escape, a second BOLO alert was issued.

About 17 minutes later, a Bradley County deputy found Dilbeck in Cleveland.
“He went directly to the area that he suspected that he might be and luckily was able to find him,” said Lewis. “During the detention and the re-arrest, it was determined he was in the process and had stolen some heavy equipment and was attempting to sell that equipment to a resident there on Wilhoit Drive where he was located.”

Dilbeck was charged with Possession of Stolen Items over $60,000. He also faces escape and theft charges in Hamilton County.

“We're grateful that he was taken back into custody without any incident, without any harm to property or persons and that's obviously a silver lining but it doesn't remove the fact that all law enforcement agencies are at risk of having an experience like this,” said Lewis.

Dilbeck was set to face a judge in Hamilton County Wednesday morning but did not show up.

We learned it is because he is still in custody in Bradley County.