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Inmate who escaped from Pinal County jail captured

FLORENCE, Ariz. — An inmate who scaled two fences and escaped from the
jail in Florence has been captured in Coolidge, Ariz.

Pinal County Sheriff’s officials say 40-year-old Joseph Andrew Dekenipp was
arrested without incident Friday night and now will face escape charges.

He was found several hours later at the Galloping Goose bar in Coolidge, about five miles from the jail, said Tim Gaffney, director of administration for the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office.

“When the deputies and officers from Coolidge Police Department went in there, they asked him if it was him, [and] he said, ‘Yes, you got me,'” Gaffney said.

Dekenipp was inside the fenced recreational yard Friday afternoon but was
unaccounted for when other inmates returned to their housing unit at 4 p.m.

Sheriff’s officials say Dekenipp somehow was able to climb to the top of a 12-foot-high fence topped with razor wire, then a scale a second perimeter fence to escape.

He was not unscathed, though, and seriously cut himself on the fence.

“K-9s were able to follow the blood trail and also his scent trail and it went right to a gas station nearby the sheriff’s office…[and] the scent trail went dry,” Gaffney said. “At that point, they figured that he had gotten into a vehicle.”

When authorities took Dekenipp back into custody Friday evening, he was alone at the bar and had changed into all black clothing, leading investigators to believe that he had an accomplice help him.

“There are going to be other people who are involved in this case,” he said. “We’re early on in the investigation, but I’m sure additional charges are going to be coming with the people who assisted him with this escape.”

Gaffney said Pinal County Sheriffs are still working to determine how he got over the fence and will evaluate their policies and procedures at the jail.

Dekenipp had been booked into jail Jan. 10 on suspicion of theft, trafficking
in stolen property, unlawful flight and other charges.

Gaffney said Dekenipp told other inmates he was lonely on Valentine’s Day and missed his girlfriend, so he had decided to escape.

He was scheduled to see a judge on Feb. 24 and Gaffney said he would have likely been released but with an escape charge now added on, Dekenipp is now facing several years in custody.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.