Alert citizen leads authorities to escape convicts in Walla Walla

January 20, 2014 

— A pair of escape convicts were arrested near Walla Walla after a woman saw the men on Facebook then ran into them at a store a short time later.

The woman saw that Ridge Scott Dains and Caleb Joe Thomas had escaped from an Idaho prison Monday morning when she checked her Facebook, according to the Walla Walla Sheriff’s Office. When the woman pulled into the Zip-Zone Market, she noticed two men inside a car with Idaho license plates.

The woman decided to call authorities, who ran the plates and found out the convicts may have stolen the Toyota Corolla, Sheriff John Turner said.

When police officers arrived at the store on South 9th Street, the men were already gone, Turner said. A deputy then spotted the Corolla driving west on Highway 12 and called for backup.

Dains, 21, was seen driving and initially fled from police before turning down a dead end street, Turner said. He and Thomas, 20, were arrested without any problems.

Authorities found a loaded .45-caliber pistol under Thomas’ seat and an assault rifle in the trunk, Turner said. Both men were booked into the Walla Walla County jail.

The men escaped shortly after midnight Saturday from the North Idaho Correctional Institution in Cottonwood, according to the Idaho Department of Correction. Prison officials found footprints in the snow leading away from the prison.

Thomas has solicitation to commit perjury, first-degree arson and theft convictions, IDOC said. Dains was convicted of burglary.

IDOC is investigating the men’s escape.

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