SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Authorities asked for the public’s help in tracking down a pair of potentially dangerous California prisoners who cut through the bars of a jail window on Thanksgiving Eve, rappelled to the ground on a bedsheet rope and escaped.
Santa Clara County sheriff’s Sgt. Rich Glennon said four inmates got out through a second-floor window of the county’s main jail late Wednesday. Two men were quickly back in cuffs -- but the other two men are on the lam.
Glennon identified the men as Rogelio Chavez and Laron Campbell, who are facing possible life sentences if convicted of burglary, extortion, false imprisonment and other charges they were being held on.
Authorities didn’t know if they’re armed, but said they should be considered dangerous.
“Based on just some of their crimes and some of their history -- yeah, I mean, they are dangerous,” Det. Elbert Rivera of the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office told CBS SF Bay Area.
Authorities released photos of the severed bars and the bedsheet tied to one of them, but said they didn’t know what tools the inmates used or how they had gotten them.
“No cutting instruments were located inside the cell or in the surrounding area,” Glennon said, according to the Associated Press.
Glennon said the way the bars were cut indicated the escape was planned.
“The fact that these bars were cut the way that they were -- it wasn’t something that they just thought of in a minute,” he told CBS SF Bay Area. “It’s something that probably took some previous planning.”
Authorities asked for the public’s help in finding them and warned that anyone who sees them should call 911 rather than try to apprehend them.
“We definitely don’t want the community to approach these individuals, but be aware of anything suspicious,” Glennon said.
The escape was discovered by a deputy patrolling the jail’s perimeter.
“He kind of thought he saw some movement in the shadows, looked up and saw some bedding in the window,” Glennon said.
Chavez, 33, and Campbell, 26, were believed to be wearing jail clothing, consisting of an orange top over gray bottoms, when they escaped.
Chavez has a distinctive face tattoo resembling an inky gash going through his left eye. He was booked into the Northern California jail in August.
Campbell, who stands 6-feet-4, had been jailed there since February 2015.
Glennon said deputies were being assisted by other local and federal law enforcement agencies.
A similar escape was made from a Southern California jail in January by three men authorities later determined had planned it for weeks. They cut through the main Orange County jail’s fifth-floor bars with tools smuggled in by an outsider, rappelled to the ground and escaped in a get-away car.
They later abducted a cab driver and forced him to drive them to Northern California.