OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The trustee who escaped from the Oklahoma County Detention Center on Wednesday by allegedly driving off in a detention officer’s car is back in custody.
A Nicoma Park Police Department officer apprehended 41-year-old Nicholas Leach, who escaped from the jail Wednesday evening after allegedly stealing a wireless remote that opens the back gate and car keys from a detention officer’s backpack.
Authorities confirmed that Leach was found at a structure fire. Information has not yet been provided on why he was in that area or whether he had any connection to the fire.
Leach was working with detention officers and another inmate on Wednesday evening, doing projects in the jail’s maintenance area, Mark Opgrande, Oklahoma County Department of Corrections Communications Director, told KFOR on Thursday.
Opgrande said 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 showed Leach beneath the garage as the back gate opened. He then snaked behind a building and ran up the back driveway.
He clicked the car key fob at the top of the driveway, locating the detention officer’s car. He then hopped in the car and took off on Classen.
Officers arrested Leach in 2019 after he allegedly tried to break into the China King restaurant in Edmond. He was turned away from the Oklahoma County Jail because he said he had COVID-19 symptoms.
Leach was booked into the Oklahoma County Jail this past May and had been there ever since.
The detention officer whose gate opener and keys were stolen resigned from his position, according to Opgrande.