CHICAGO — A Cook County Jail detainee who escaped from custody Saturday morning was arrested hours later at a Popeyes Chicken restaurant across the street from Lane Tech High School, officials said.
Vincent Tervel, 36, "walked off" a job site about 11:15 a.m. Saturday, said Cook County spokeswoman Cara Smith said.
Tervel was cleaning cages at the city's Animal Care and Control Center, near West 28th Street and South Western Avenue, as part of a work program for Cook County inmates, Smith said.
Tervel apparently just left the site. He was arrested about 3:20 p.m. at the Popeyes Chicken restaurant on the corner of West Addison Street and North Western Avenue.
Smith said officials were conducting an investigation to find out exactly how Tervel left the site and if he had any accomplices. That investigation is expected to take another 24 to 36 hours.
Tervel and another man were arrested Sept. 18 for allegedly stealing grave markers and valuables from a North Side cemetery, Smith said. On Sept. 19, Tervel was charged with possession of burglary tools and was ordered held on $30,000 bond, according to records.
Smith said Tervel will face further charges for escaping custody Saturday.
The Cook County Jail has had a contract with the Animal Care and Control Center for just under two years. It is one of three work programs the jail has, Smith said. She said the programs bring in money for Cook County and aim to be beneficial for prisoners.
"The sheriff is a believer in getting these guys doing things during the day instead of sitting in a cell, and this contract — as well as our other off-site contracts — bring in tremendous revenue to the county," Smith said.
She said the work programs have brought in just under $1 million for Cook County so far this year.
Smith said inmates like Tervel are not handcuffed while they work at the site but are monitored by guards. Prior to Saturday's escape, the only incident that occurred with the animal control worksite was an inmate who was bitten by an animal, Smith said.
The botched escape is the latest in a string of embarrassing incidents involving inmates with Cook County ties. In August, it was revealed that Steven Derkits, after being mistakenly released early from Cook County Jail, allegedly beat and burned his girlfriend. Earlier this month, Jeremiah Harris was accidentally released early while awaiting trial for murder. And on Saturday the Sun-Times reported Walter Dixon was free for more than nine months after a paperwork screw up allowed his release from the Stateville prison.