HENRY COUNTY, Ind. - Authorities launched a search Monday morning after two inmates pried their way out of an east-central Indiana jail, and by 2 p.m., both men were back in police custody after they were found hiding at a friend's house.
Henry County Sheriff Butch Baker told RTV6 that one of the inmates, Michael Bertram, 37, was able to hide himself sometime in the early morning hours (roughly 4 a.m. Monday) in a two-story wooden pantry that is located inside the Henry County Jail's recreation room.
The rec room was left unlocked because the lock was damaged, Baker said. The door to the pantry inside the rec room was also left unlocked overnight.
While there, Sheriff Baker said Bertram removed a piece of plywood that was used to store food and was able to gain access to the roof of the structure. Still inside the indoor rec room, investigators said he used the wood to pry open the metal siding on a wall near the roof. Investigators said he was more easily able to create a hole because he was using a knife from the jail's kitchen.
From there, Bertram reportedly hopped down from the roof and ran away.
Then, a second inmate, Johnny Dennis, 41, was waxing floors. The sheriff believes Dennis was acting as a lookout at this point, because once Bertram was free, Dennis followed him out the same way.
Bertram was being held on theft charges; Dennis was being held on robbery and aggravated assault charges.
The friend who was hiding the inmates in his home was also arrested, police said.
Authorities said the men were likely armed with a knife that went missing from the jail's kitchen. A second knife was found on the jail's roof. The escapees' uniforms were also found on the roof.
Bertram and Dennis were two of 112 inmates that were staying overnight in the jail, which is designed to hold 68 inmates.
The sheriff has interviewed the four employees who were working at the jail overnight. The escapees were gone for about 30 minutes before the absence was noticed.
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