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Co-conspirator arrested in connection to Palo Alto escaped inmates case

Inmates still on the loose

Palo Alto inmates still on the loose...

PALO ALTO, Calif. - UPDATE: 11/8/17 4:00 p.m.: A $25,000 Reward is now being offered leading to the capture of the escaped inmates. The Santa Clara County Sheriffs Office is investigating the escape from the Palo Alto Court on 11/06/17.

McClough & Bivins are considered “Dangerous.” They say do not approach them. And if seen, CALL 911. Sheriff Laurie Smith is offering a $25K reward for info leading to their capture. The phone number for the tip line is 408-808-4431.

UPDATE: 11/7/2017 3:00 p.m: An arrest has been made in connection with inmates who escaped a Palo Alto Courthouse Monday.

This morning, at approximately 5:00, Sheriff’s Office Investigators arrested Marquita Kirk at a residence in Sunnyvale. Kirk rented the U-Haul Van and staged it near the Courthouse. Witnesses observed the escapees fleeing in a U-Haul shortly after the escape.

44-year-old Marquita Kirk from Sunnyvale, had a long standing relationship with Tramel McClough. Kirk was arrested on felony charges of conspiracy, and accessory after the fact. Currently, the Sheriff’s Office is running a 24-hour investigation operation into locating the escapees.

UPDATE: 11/6/2017 10:29 p.m. The search is on for two inmates who escaped a Palo Alto courthouse in a brazen escape, and officials said it's clear someone was helping those two suspects. 

Inmates John Bivens and Tramel McClough managed to break free from restraints as they were walking down a hall at Superior Court in Palo Alto. 

Sheriff's officials said it is unclear how they managed to get away from the deputy but do believe someone assisted the inmates. 

Reports said a red Camry was waiting for them outside the courthouse. It's unknown if there was a driver or if the keys were left inside. Bivens and McClough hopped in, drove it to the next street over and dumped it. Authorities said witnesses saw the two then jump into a U-Haul cargo van and speed away.

Bivens and McClough are being prosecuted for an armed robbery of a Verizon Store in Sunnyvale earlier this year. Their escape is the latest in a series of mishaps handled by the sheriff's department. Last November, four inmates escaped from the main jail. The jail has also been scrutinized after three guards were convicted of beating an inmate to death. 

The District Attorney's office said McClough is a three striker facing life in prison, while Bivens is facing a lengthy sentence if convicted.

PREVIOUS STORY: 

CBS SF- Two East Palo Alto men being held for the armed robbery of a Sunnyvale Verizon store bolted from the Palo Alto courthouse Monday before a court hearing on the case, authorities said.

The two escaped inmates were identified as Tramel McClough and John Bivins.

According to the Santa Clara County Department of Corrections Inmate Locator, both men were being held at the Elmwood Correctional Facility without bail. Each had a court appearance scheduled at the Palo Alto Courthouse on Monday.

Bivins was described as a 5-foot, 9-inch, 180-pound black man with brown eyes and black hair. McClough is a 6-foot, 4-inch black man who weighs 285 pounds. Anyone that sees them is advised to call 911 or the sheriff’s office at (408) 808-3670.

Both men were arrested in February on suspicion of stealing $64,400 worth of cellphones and other merchandise from a Verizon store in Sunnyvale, police said earlier this year.

According to police, the two men were wearing masks when they allegedly forced the store’s employees to open the store’s safe and then tied them up and locked them in a bathroom, police said. One was armed with a handgun and the other with a knife.

The suspects ransacked the store, reportedly taking dozens of cellphones and other merchandise before fleeing in a vehicle. The employees were not injured, police said.

Police found the suspect vehicle about 3 miles away, at Corte Madera Avenue and Costa Mesa Terrace. The vehicle sped off, starting a short pursuit involving the Santa Clara County sheriff’s air unit, patrol personnel and Mountain View police.

The vehicle eventually stopped in the parking lot of an apartment complex, at which time the driver fled on foot before being captured, police said.

The passenger started to flee before a police officer deployed a conductive energy device and apprehended him. He was treated at a hospital and arrested.

Police found all of the stolen property and the handgun allegedly used in the robbery in the suspect vehicle. The gun had been reported stolen out of Nevada, police said.


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