UPDATE: Escaped inmate found, two others arrested

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St. Joseph County Police say around 3 p.m. Tuesday, they arrested an inmate who escaped from jail earlier in the day.

Around 4:30 a.m., police say 27-year-old Franklin Rice got into a bread truck that had the keys left inside and drove through a back gate before abandoning the truck and getting into a nearby car.

Police say Rice had apparently been carefully planning his escape for weeks.

As part of the inmate worker program, he worked in the kitchen preparing meals and inventorying food.

St. Joseph County Sheriff Michael Grzegorek says Rice had apparently noticed that delivery driver made a habit of keeping his keys in the car.

Grzegorek says Rice made a phone call the night before and morning of his escape to coordinate his getaway.

"Thousands of phone calls are made out of this facility everyday by inmates, so it would be impossible to personally monitor each and every call that goes out of this facility," Grzegorek said.

Police say once Rice ditched the delivery truck on LaFayette between Bronson and Sampson, he got into a car with girlfriend 27-year-old Phetsamone Kaviyakone and 21-year-old Priscilla Minjarez.

His prison uniform was found in the street.

Minjarez was brought in for questioning later that morning and gave police information about a house in Bremen where Rice and Kaviyakone were staying.

Police from several agencies surrounded the home and arrested the couple without incident.

Grzegorek say Minjarez later admitted her involvement in the escape.

All three were arrested on a preliminary charge of escape.

Grzegorek says he takes the incident as a "personal offense" and has already implemented several changes to make sure it doesn't happen again.

Moving forward, all delivery drivers will be instructed to turn their trucks off, lock their vehicles and keep their keys with them at all times.

Inmates will no longer be allowed to unload items directly from trucks, but will instead help carry items into the jail after vendors have put them onto the loading dock.

"It makes me want to make sure that our policies, our procedures, all of our practices are reviewed and are continually reviewed so they're as strong as possible," Grzegorek said of the escape.

Rice was originally booked into the St. Joseph County Jail in October for burglary.

A plea agreement shows he faces four counts of burglary.

He's scheduled to be sentenced next week.

Police say Rice could face more charges stemming from his escape.


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