Escaped inmates from Henry County back in custody

WTHR photo after escapees' recapture on the south side of New Castle
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Two men who escaped the Henry County Jail Monday morning are back in custody.

Police captured Michael Bertram, 37, and Johnny Dennis, 41, around 1:30 p.m. Monday. The two were held at the scene in separate SUVs as police vehicles blocked a small residential street on the south side of New Castle.

"Awesome. Awesome. Awesome job, for sure," was the reaction from neighbors who applauded the swift action of local and state police, as well as U.S. Marshals, for capturing the pair just hours after they escaped from the Henry County Jail.

"We try our best to keep them in, but they've got 24/7 to try to figure out how to get out," said Henry County Sheriff Butch Baker.

Apparently, it wasn't that difficult.

The men went through two unlocked doors. Then the two, who were trusted to work overnight in the jail unsupervised, grabbed two secured paring knives from the kitchen. They climbed a ladder in a pantry, went through the plywood ceiling, then pried open the aluminum siding to freedom around 4:30 a.m. Monday.

That led to an immediate manhunt. With guns drawn, officers and agents checked more than a half-dozen homes.

"We've been following up leads, different information, different addresses, friends, associates and we've just been going from one location to the next," the sheriff explained.

The men were finally found at a friend's house Monday afternoon.

"The officers went in and got 'em with no resistance," said Baker.

A nine-hour taste of freedom that ended just a few miles from where it began.

"That's awesome. I think they're great...they did a good job. I'm proud of the police!" said neighbors.

Bertram was in jail for theft. Dennis was accused of robbery and battery.