Escaped prisoner found in portable toilet tank

Cesar Sanchez in a recent photo (left); Sanchez when he was put in jail (right)

January 12, 2012 3:26:43 PM PST
After a 6 1/2 hour manhunt, authorities tracked down an inmate who escaped while being transported from a suburban court to a prison Friday.

Cesar Sanchez, 37, escaped while handcuffed at about 2:15 pm. Friday in Lockport Township near Joliet. The search ended in a waste management facility where Sanchez was hiding in a storage area for portable toilets in Rockdale.

Sources tell ABC 7 that a state police helicopter with an infrared camera found a hot spot inside a Port-A-Potty. It was a quick capture, police say.

The Will County Sheriff said Sanchez was able to get onto a tractor in Lockport and ride it to the Berryman Trucking Company at 2000 Moen Ave. in Rockdale. Police said surveillance video showed the prisoner getting off the truck.

David Nelson was listening to his police scanner when Sanchez was captured.

"I heard they were getting heat from a port-a-john and they said they got him," said Nelson.

The massive manhunt started in Lockport, where Sanchez, a convict with a long criminal history, jumped out of a transport van. He was on his way to the Stateville Correctional Center after a court hearing in Bridgeview.

Citizens were worried when they heard the news that a prisoner had escaped in the area.

"It's scary out here," Joe Moses told ABC7.

In Rockdale, officers had their guns drawn as flashlights lit the night and a helicopter hovered overhead. Businesses were locked down.

"We let the office girls know to beware and we locked all the doors," said Tom Dolosic, who works in the industrial park where Sanchez was found.

"We haven't had this much action ever," said Jerry Stiles, worker.