Timely tip foils Henrico jail escape plot

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HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WTVR)–A special Henrico response team began arming themselves Monday afternoon, getting into gear and preparing for a mission that could easily turn deadly.

“Since I’ve been in office this is only the second time we’ve used them,” said Henrico Sheriff Mike Wade about the special gear.

As the operation began, over the jail intercom, you could hear: “Go to your cell, go to your cell now!”

“The vests our guys are wearing aren’t bullet-proof, but they’re stab-proof,” said Wade.

The Henrico Sheriff’s Office Response Team,  also known as “SORT”  was working off a tip  from a lawyer who had met with his client recently, and told the sheriff that two inmates were planning an escape.

Sheriff Wade said the inmates had already started putting their plan in motion by punching a hole through a window in Cell Block 6 which they tried to disguise as an old maintenance issue, using a jail sticker.

“We have stickers we put on stuff that’s already up for repair,” said Wade.  “They created one to make it look like it was already reported damage.”

The SORT crew made a surprise visit to what’s called the day-room before ransacking a cell and searching it thoroughly, with deputies even “wanding” a mattress looking for the tool they suspect the inmates had been using.

Four inmates were taken away in cuffs for questioning, but Wade said there was work still to be done.  “We found the hole but no tool,” he said.  “So we will continue searching.”

The escape plot was put to bed but the investigators say they won’t be resting anytime soon.

“We are investigating it to see if others on the outside helped,” said Wade.  “In fact, we know they’ve had contact with the outside, so they may get charged, too.”

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