Inmates used peanut butter to fool guard, break out of jail

JASPER, Ala. — An Alabama sheriff says a dozen inmates escaped from his jail by using peanut butter to trick a new employee into opening an outside door.

Walker County Sheriff James Underwood said the inmates used peanut butter from jail sandwiches to change the number above an inmate’s cell to the number that identifies a door leading outside the jail. An inmate then asked the young, inexperienced jailer to open his cell’s door, enabling the group to flee outside, where they used blankets to climb over a razor-wire fence.

“It may sound crazy, but these kinds of people are crazy like a fox.” Underwood told a news conference. “He thought he was opening the cell door for this man to go in his cell, but in fact he opened up the outside door.”

“Escapes happen,” Underwood said. “We’ve got some evil people down here, and they scheme all the time to con us and our employees at the jail. You’ve got to stay on your toes. This is one time we slipped up. I’m not going to make any excuses.”

All but one of the dozen inmates were captured within eight hours, and the sheriff said he hopes and expects the last one to be back in custody by day’s end. He said the only person seriously hurt in the entire escape incident was an inmate who sliced his thumb climbing over a razor-wire fence.

The fugitives were between 18 and 30, facing charges ranging from disorderly conduct to attempted murder.

A manhunt continued Monday for the last remaining fugitive, Bradley Andrew Kilpatrick, 24, of Cordova, who had been jailed on charges of possessing marijuana and drug paraphernalia. That search was getting some airborne help from a state helicopter.

Underwood said the escape happened about 6:20 p.m. Sunday CDT and he estimated inmates had cleared the barbed wire fence in less than 10 minutes.