OKLAHOMA CITY – The search for two escaped inmates considered armed and dangerous moved to northeast Oklahoma on Thursday after they were spotted at a convenience store in the Tulsa suburb of Sapulpa, according to the deputy sheriff leading the investigation.
Andrew Foy, 32, and Darren Walp, 37, overpowered prison transport officers in northwest Oklahoma and stole the transport company's van Tuesday morning. The van was later found, with an empty gun holster belonging to one of the guards inside.
"We believe they could be heading east to Pennsylvania or Delaware," where both have ties, according to Major County Deputy Gary Swymeler, or they could still be in Oklahoma.
"Walp has contacts all over Oklahoma, particularly in Lawton and Walters," both in the state's southwestern corner.
Swymeler said the two were seen on surveillance video at a Quik Trip store in Sapulpa, where they left the trailer of the semitrailer that was stolen in the Oklahoma City suburb of El Reno.
"He (Walp) told the clerk he was having issues and would have to leave the trailer, but would be back," to get it, Swymeler said, but the clerk recognized him and called police immediately after the pair left.
Authorities say the two escaped by overpowering the guards and stealing the transport van near Fairview, a small town about 80 miles (129 kilometers) northwest of Oklahoma City.
Four other inmates who were in the van stayed behind with the two guards, Swymeler said.
The van was found about 13 miles (21 kilometers) from where it was stolen, with the guard's belt that included the empty gun holster. Sheriff Steve Randolph has said the guard, whose name has not been released, claimed he didn't have a gun, but "we're not sure he was telling the truth."
Officials with West Memphis, Arkansas-based Inmate Services Corporation, which was transporting the inmates, have not returned phone messages from The Associated Press seeking comment.
"The guard is not licensed ... in any state" to carry a weapon, and could face charges if he did so, Swymeler said.
The inmates are suspected of abandoning the transport van in Major County and stealing a pickup truck from a nearby oilfield, then traveling to Lawton, where another truck was stolen, then to El Reno where the semi was stolen and the truck stolen in Lawton was found nearby.
Foy, from Cheyenne, Wyoming, was wanted on a felony failure to appear in court warrant on charges that include burglary, theft and fraud. He was being extradited from Doylestown, Pennsylvania, where he was arrested on the Wyoming charge, according to Capt. Michael Sorenson of the Laramie County, Wyoming, sheriff's office.
Walp, whose address is listed as McLeansboro, Illinois, was wanted for failure to appear in court on an auto theft charge in Liberal, Kansas, when he was arrested in Tennessee, according to Gene Ward, undersheriff in Kansas' Seward County.