Oklahoma County Jail inmate escapes and drives away after stealing detention officer’s keys

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – An Oklahoma County Jail trustee is now on the run after stealing a wireless remote and opening the jail’s back gate.

“This all happened in about two minutes,” said Mark Opgrande, Oklahoma County Department of Corrections Communications Director.

Nicholas Leach escaped Wednesday evening after stealing a gate opener and car keys from a detention officer’s backpack.

“That individual was working with a couple of other detention officers and another inmate. They were just doing projects in the maintenance area,” Opgrande said.

Opgrande says Leach excused himself to use the bathroom and that’s when he saw the detention officer’s backpack. 

“All the employees who come in here have to have clear backpacks when they work on the secure side,” Opgrande said. “So, he was able to see through the backpack and saw what he realized was the gate opener and also a set of keys.”

Surveillance footage shows Leach appearing underneath the garage as the gate opens. He then snakes behind a building and runs up the back driveway.

mugshot of Nicholas Leach courtesy of the Oklahoma County Detention Center
Nicholas Leach

At the top of the drive, he clicks the car key fob. He locates the detention officer’s car, then hops in the car and takes off on Classen.

The car authorities are searching for is a 2008 red Honda Civic. All the windows are tinted except the driver’s side.

“It’s unclear whether he had said anything to anybody. It’s possible it could have been a crime or an opportunity that he saw and just took it. We’re not sure right now,” Opgrande said.

Leach is no stranger to the Oklahoma County Jail. Back in 2019, officers arrested Leach after he allegedly tried to break into the China King restaurant in Edmond. He was then turned away from the Oklahoma County Jail because he said he had symptoms of COVID-19.

But this year’s case, Leach was booked into the jail back in May and had been there ever since.

“In this case, simply the detention officer was possibly not paying as close enough attention as he should be. That detention officer also resigned last night, so he is no longer working for the facility,” Opgrande said.

Jail officials said they are unsure if Leach is a danger to the public. 

He was being held on burglary charges but now faces more serious charges of escape from a county jail and larceny of an automobile. 

If you have information on Leach’s whereabouts, please call 911.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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