DECATUR, Ga. (AP) — A fugitive has been captured near Atlanta after escaping from the same Alabama jail twice within a three-week span and then tying up and robbing people while on the run, authorities said early Wednesday.
Shane Anthony Vernon, 27, was taken into custody late Tuesday in DeKalb County, Georgia, just east of Atlanta, the Coosa County Sheriff's office in Alabama said. Vernon had been the focus of a nationwide manhunt.
The inmate's most recent escape happened Sunday afternoon, Coosa County Sheriff Terry Wilson said.
He had been allowed out of his cell to use the inmate telephone system and noticed that a guard had failed to properly secure a door in the area, Wilson said. He went through that door and gained access to the ceiling, and then breached four security doors and fled the facility, the sheriff said.
Vernon then broke into a home in Rockford, Alabama, where he tied up and robbed the residents and stole their 2016 Ford Fusion, Wilson has said.
After abandoning that vehicle, he broke into another home Monday in Wetumpka, Alabama, where he sat in a chair and waited for the homeowner to arrive, Elmore County Sheriff Bill Franklin told the news site Al.com. He then kidnapped the homeowner and drove with him to Douglasville, Georgia, just west of Atlanta, Franklin said.
Early Tuesday, the homeowner was let go and went to a gas station for help, authorities said. "All indications are that he is OK," Franklin told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Vernon had previously escaped Oct. 29 by forcibly removing his restraints and running while being booked into the county jail, authorities said. He was recaptured the next day after that escape.
Vernon was being held in the Alabama jail on multiple felony charges, including burglary and auto theft, before his latest escape.
Early Wednesday morning, he was being held in the DeKalb County Jail in Decatur, Georgia. He was booked into that facility at 12:40 a.m. Wednesday, jail records show.