Sheriff Charlie Webster directed internal affairs investigators Sunday to find out how an Augusta man escaped twice during the weekend as deputies booked him into the Richmond County jail.
"It was sloppy work by the Richmond County Sheriff's Department for him to have escaped twice in 24 hours," Sheriff Webster said. "We don't know how he escaped (the second time) or when he escaped. All we know is that it was sometime Saturday night."
Deputies on Sunday night recaptured Jack Delmar Jones, 35, who escaped the first time at 9:15 p.m. Friday after he was charged in the theft of a power drill from the Sears store at Augusta Mall, authorities said.
The internal affairs investigation could result in disciplinary action against jail employees, the sheriff said. Both escapes were from the Augusta-Richmond County Law Enforcement Center at Gordon Highway and Walton Way in downtown Augusta.
The sheriff's office operates a second jail, open since 1997 for minimum-security inmates, at Mike Padgett Highway and Phinizy Road in south Augusta.
Maximum-security inmates are jailed at the Law Enforcement Center.
Mr. Jones was waiting to be booked into the jail as a jailer released five other inmates whose bail had been posted. As the inmates walked by, Mr. Jones blended into the group and left the Law Enforcement Center.
Deputies caught Mr. Jones at 6 a.m. Saturday after sheriff's investigators received an anonymous tip and searched the home of a friend who lives at 104 Dugan Court in south Augusta. Mr. Jones was found hiding in a lower kitchen cabinet, authorities said.
Deputies took Mr. Jones back to the Law Enforcement Center. His second escape came later Saturday as he waited to be booked for the second arrest, Sheriff Webster said.
Officials discovered the second escape Saturday night and alerted deputies to search for Mr. Jones again.
Deputies ended Mr. Jones' second bid for freedom at 8:30 p.m. Sunday at a manufactured home on McCombs Road near McBean in south Richmond County, Sheriff Webster said.
Investigators believe Mr. Jones may have gone there looking for work. The residents of the mobile home didn't know of Mr. Jones' escapes, Sheriff Webster said.
Richmond County deputies located Mr. Jones on Sunday with help from Burke County sheriff's officers, said Sheriff Webster. He predicted that Mr. Jones won't get away from the jail a third time.
"There will be some changes this time," Sheriff Webster said. "You won't find out he has done it again. This was completely uncalled for."
Deputies expected to charge Mr. Jones with shoplifting and two counts of escape, said Sheriff Webster, who added that he didn't know if Mr. Jones had been arrested before this weekend or if he was wanted anywhere outside of Augusta.
"We opened this jail in 1985, and we've only had one other escape a couple of years ago," Sheriff Webster said, referring to the Law Enforcement Center.
Staff Writer Lisa Lohr contributed to this article.
Katie Throne can be reached at (706) 823-3332 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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