Four Mississippi inmates reportedly broke out of a medium-security facility, robbed a nearby bargain store, and then broke back into their cells, undetected.
Levontaye Ellington, Travis Baker, Maurice Robertson and Jacquiez Williams are all inmates of Holmes-Humphreys County Correctional Facility in Lexington, Mississippi, according to WLBT. The four allegedly escaped the correctional facility Sept. 21 by jumping over a fence.
They then reportedly walked less than a mile to a Dollar General, where surveillance video shows them grabbing cigarettes, lighters, phones and other items.
"They stole items they felt they could sell in jail,” said Lexington Police Chief Robert Kirklin in a statement. The police photo of the stolen items shows candies as well as vaping materials.
After allegedly robbing the store, the four decided to not make a run for it but instead sneak back into their cells.
"You already in jail, but you want to break out and break back in?" said Kirklin. "That is just something. I heard it all."
During questioning at the Lexington police station, the inmates denied stealing from the store. But police say security video clearly shows them taking the items from the Dollar General.
“Just looking at the type of clothing they had on and just one of the bags they had put some of the merchandise in," said Kirklin.
Some of the stolen items have been recovered and the four inmates have been charged with commercial burglary. It is unclear what charges they were originally incarcerated for.
The jail says it is working on making the facility more secure so this does not happen again.
This isn't the first time prisoners have escaped their correctional facilities only to break back in later. One federal facility in Atlanta has been dealing with this problem for years, according to WJW.
In 2013, the Atlanta Police Department began investigating a pattern of inmates "temporarily escaping" through holes cut in the prison fence. In once case, officers caught prisoners trying to enter a car near the fence. The inmates quickly ran back onto prison grounds, but search of the car reportedly found bottles of alcohol, cellphones and two handguns.
In 2016, security video captured inmates trying to escape to retrieve large bags of contraband.
Law enforcement officials say one inmate was caught trying to sneak contraband back into the prison in February. Justin B. Stinson allegedly snuck through the fence to grab a large duffel bag filled with contraband. As he was trying to make his way back onto prison grounds, he was arrested by the FBI.
As of February, the investigation into the pattern of escapes is ongoing.