MIDLAND, TX (KWES) - Tense moments for Midland officials Monday afternoon after an inmate took off running while on work detail.
Midland County Sheriff Gary Painter tells NewsWest 9 that the group of inmates was outside on work detail, when the sergeant on duty told the group to take a break while he grabbed a vehicle to pick them up so they could do more work. As soon as he left, one of the inmates made a run for it.
"I think there's a word in Spanish for it. Estupido," said Painter.
Shortly after noon on Monday, 28-year-old Jose Guadalupe Lopez went on a 15-minute joy run.
"[He] got down the street and took his uniform off, took his band off of his arm that we have for inmates and fled running," said Painter.
Lopez got to the area of Pecos and Pennsylvania and went into a business to use the phone. Residents knew something was fishy.
"The individuals called 911 and said he looked like an escaped prisoner," said Painter.
The residents didn't let Lopez out of their sight. They helped a detective and patrol officer who were nearby locate Lopez, who ran to hide between storage units in the area. He was arrested without incident.
"They did a wonderful job, the citizens. If we didn't have citizens reporting crimes to us, we'd be out of business. It would be a hard, hard job," said Painter.
Sheriff Painter says an escapee is nothing new.
"We've had them walk off, we've had them walk out, we've had them change wristbands. We've had all kinds of things happen. It's been interesting. Just stupid people but they're all back in jail," said Painter.
Lopez was arrested back on June 3 for forgery charges in Midland County. He also has warrants out of El Paso County under multiple aliases.