The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office began a press release about an escaped inmate this afternoon with the comical question "Herculean inmate? Or Darwin award?" Perhaps the questions should have been "how the hell does a guy scale five razor-wire fences without anyone noticing?"
Allow us to explain:
This morning, around 7:30, a guy was seen by sheriff's deputies running towards 35th Avenue near the Durango Jail in Phoenix. He was covered in blood and, aside from a pair of pink socks, the guy was naked.
The man, 24-year-old Clayton Thornburg, is an inmate at the jail. According to the sheriff's office, while in the jail's recreation yard, Thornburg scaled five razor-wire fences in order to reach the parking lot of the jail, where he was first seen by deputies.
Three of the fences, the sheriff's office says, are 15 feet high -- again, they're also covered in razor wire.
While scaling the fences, the sheriff's office says Thornburg's clothes -- even his "infamous pink underwear" -- were shredded by the razor wire. Thornburg was cut up pretty bad, too.
Deputies took Thornburg back into custody before he even got out of the parking lot but the question remains: how the hell does a guy scale -- in the words of the sheriff's office -- "not one but five fences" without anyone noticing.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Phoenix New Times's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Phoenix's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
Multiple fences aren't just part of an obstacle course for inmates -- part of their purpose is to give guards more time to respond if someone does make the bold decision to try and scale them.
In other words, if someone can get over one, there's no reason he can't get over the rest -- a sixth fence probably wasn't stopping this guy.
We contacted the sheriff's office to get an explanation but nobody got back to us.
In any event, Thornburg, who was in jail for an extensive number of property crimes, was booked into the Fourth Avenue Jail, where he now faces a felony charge for escape.