Police say Michael Rimmer, 33, escaped from a private prison transfer van during a stop at a convenience store in Olney, Texas early Saturday morning.
North Texas authorities are searching for a prisoner who escaped from a van transporting him and others from Louisiana to Florida.
Olney Police Chief Barry Roberts says 33-year-old Michael Rimmer apparently escaped about 1:00 a.m. Saturday during a stop at a convenience store in the town northwest of Dallas.
Roberts says a Rimmer, who's from Florida, was part of a group in the custody of a private company that transports inmates. He says the group was in Olney but Rimmer was discovered missing when the van stopped in Terrell, 160 miles away.
Roberts says Rimmer's handcuffs, belly chain, leg irons and gray t-shirt around 2 p.m. Saturday at the intersection of West Springcreek Road and South Avenue G on Olney's south side. Roberts says they were likely cut with a hacksaw.
"We're encouraging everyone to stay inside, keep their doors locked," Roberts said. The police chief says Olney is a small town where folks leave their doors unlocked, keys in their cars and keep their garages open.
Chief Roberts told NBC DFW that it was shocking to him that Rimmer could have simply walked away.
"It happens, there's inmates escape everyday," Roberts said. "I can't point fingers at anyone, but it would have sure helped if we'd have known sooner in the search."
Terrell Police say they were never notified of the potential escape in their jurisdiction, rather an officer stopped what he deemed to be a suspicious van. Only then did Terrell Police learn of the possible escape, Olney Police was contacted around 7:30 a.m.
Roberts says Rimmer's head start could be a problem, but the fact that he is not from the area will likely help in their attempt to capture him.
The Young County Sheriff's Office and the Texas Department of Public Safety are also involved in the search.
Roberts says Rimmer has a history that includes assaulting a police officer and drug distribution. Rimmer is considered dangerous.
The Lakeland, Florida based company USG 7, United States Group 7, is the private prison transport company. No one answered a phone number listed for the company on Saturday.