Texas Rangers hope that a reward will give someone reason to call in and tell them where a West Texas escapee is hiding.
Tommy Pina escaped from the Dickens County Jail by jumping over a ten foot razor fence Thursday afternoon. So how does an inmate go from behind bars to on the run? NewsChannel 11 went to Dickens County to ask the sheriff just that, and discovered a possible reason Pina got away is he caught someone asleep...and it wasn't the sheriff.
The town of Dickens, population 330, has a seemingly laid back atmosphere. However, while one inmate at the Dickens County Jail slept in an outdoor recreation area, the one other inmate, Tommy Pina saw that as his opportunity to run. "One of them went over the fence, through the razor wire and out on this side," said Dickens County Sheriff, Ken Brendle.
Sheriff Brendle, who was on another case at the time, said the inmate still inside heard a loud thud then yelled for help, as Pina was now outside. Pina went on to break into a nearby house, steal a shotgun and a new black Chevy pick-up truck.
Sheriff Brendle immediately called surrounding law enforcement agencies for help in hopes of preventing anyone from getting hurt. "That is a nightmare any law enforcement officer will face in an escape and he better face it. A person that's never been violent can turn violent," said Brendle.
Nearby resident Benny Robertson said most people leave their doors unlocked, but after hearing of the escape that is a laid-back habit that has changed. Robertson said, "we did lock the house up and all that last night." He said he'll continue that practice.
Brendle is already working on better security for the recreation area. Within the next few weeks razor wiring will cover the entire open top. But right now, he'll concentrate on finding his missing inmate. "We did have five, but as of Thursday, we've got four and we're looking forward to his return," said the sheriff.
Brendle said Pina faces charges of escape, burglary of a habitation, and theft of over $20,000, which is punishable by at least 15 years in prison.
Pina is a 29-year-old Hispanic male. He is 6''1', 170 pounds with tattoos on his chest, left leg and shoulder. He was last seen driving a stolen black Chevy truck with a ranch grill. The Texas license plate is 57L-TS2.
Pina is considered armed and dangerous. If you see him, don't approach him. Call the Texas Rangers at (806) 472-2884 or call the Dickens County Sheriff's Department at (806) 623-5533. They are currently offering a $250 reward.
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