Inmate Leaves Jail to Buy Cigarettes...Then Returns
A convicted burglar slipped out of his Austin, Texas prison unit to buy smokeless tobacco and cigarettes at a Walmart across the street, then returned unnoticed a short time later, according to the American-Statesman.
The store's surveillance camera confirmed that Skyler Steddum, 19, who is serving a four-year sentence for a home burglary and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, made the trip. It's believed he might have made as many as 70 such shopping trips.
Guards only learned of his trips because an inmate snitched.
The Central Unit in Sugar Land, where Skyler is doing his time, has no fences; It's a camp, outside the main prison yard, that houses about 300 minimum-security convicts. Convicts are supposed to be tightly monitored and counted every few hours.
Authorities also say Sklyer dyed his white prison uniform tan with coffee, possibly in an effort to blend in with other shoppers.
"It might be funny if it weren't so absurd. People shopping at a Walmart shouldn't have to worry that the person standing next to them in line is supposed to be in a prison," state Sen. John Whitmire of Houston, chairman of a committee that oversees the prison system said. "And the fact that Walmart has better security cameras than our prisons, well, this whole situation begs a whole lot of questions."