Varnedore mug

THOMASVILLE — A Thomas County Jail escapee who burst a fingerprint machine when he was booked into the facility last week escaped Sunday night — but not for long and not far.

A shower malfunctioned and flooded a jail dorm about 7:30 p.m., according to reports. Inmates in the dorm were moved to an enclosed outdoor recreation area.

Brian Varnedore removed his jail jumpsuit and threw it over a hook on a metal cover on a  surveillance camera, said Thomas County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Ron James, jail administrator.

“He was able to throw himself over the wire,” James said, adding that Varnedore managed to get out of the camera’s view.

Varnedore put a shirt over barbed wire in a second enclosure behind the jail. James said the inmate scaled two barbed wire-topped fences.

Someone at the nearby Cherokee Lake track saw Varnedore go over the second fence and called 911.

James said city police set up a perimeter to prevent the escapee from crossing the trestle over the lake and getting away. Deputies broadened the perimeter.

Varnedore was cornered in the lake. A uniformed deputy entered the water and approached the inmate.

A small boat was secured to take 38-year-old Varnedore to the shore.

Varnedore, of 152 Cassidy Road, originally was booked into the jail March 21 on a charge of willful obstruction of law enforcement officers. James said Varnedore burst the screen on a fingerprint machine at the jail and is charged with criminal damage to property in the incident.

“He’s in solitary confinement in our restriction dorm. All his privileges have been taken away,” James said Monday.

An upgrade to concertina wire, a type of barbed wire, will be considered for fences at the jail, James said.

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