ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Police searched for five inmates who escaped from a medium-security jail by sneaking through the ceiling of a shower stall and using a sheet to scramble over a barbed-wire fence.
The escape Saturday night was the second from the city's jail in eight days. The jail holds about 1,100 inmates on various state charges, each awaiting trial or hearings on parole or probation.
It was not immediately clear what charges were pending against the five escaped inmates.
Ed Bushmeyer, director of the city's department of public safety, said the method of escape was apparently planned over "some period of time." He said the inmates who escaped went through the shower stall's ceiling before removing bricks from the side of the jail.
The men then scaled a chain-link fence and crossed coils of razor wire before fleeing on foot, he said.
The missing inmates were identified as Donald Latroy Williams, 23; Ira Neal, 50; David Head, 49; Larry D. Catchings, 34; and James Lee Morrow, 53.
A delivery truck driver reported the escape Saturday evening after seeing several men in blue, jailhouse jumpsuits walking along a street near the lockup on the city's north side, Bushmeyer said.
On Feb. 15, murder suspect Derrick Boothe of St. Louis was accidentally released from the jail after he switched identities with another inmate. Boothe was caught Tuesday.
Bushmeyer said that after Boothe escaped, the lockup stiffened its security measures in hopes of preventing another breakout. That will happen again after this incident, he said.
"It's unfortunate to have two incidents so close in time, but they are completely different circumstances," Bushmeyer said.