COOSA CO., AL (WSFA) - A manhunt is underway for an "armed and dangerous" Coosa County escapee who has sought to elude authorities in a growing crime spree.
The Coosa County Sheriff's Office has handed over the lead to the U.S. Marshal's Service to find Shane Anthony Vernon, 27.
The Coosa County Sheriff's Office, Elmore County Sheriff's Office, Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, the State K-9 Tracking Team, the ALEA Aviation Unit, and the United States Marshall's Office have all been involved in the search.
Vernon broke out of the county jail Sunday around 2:30 p.m. and is believed responsible for two home break-ins with the thefts of guns and vehicles.
Vernon is 5ft. 9in and weighs about 130 lbs. He has tattoos on his fist, forearm, neck, and shoulder. The tattoo on his fist reads "ride or die". There's also a Chinese symbol on his neck and the word "County" on his shoulder.
Sheriff Terry Wilson said after escaping the jail, Vernon broke into a home on Hwy. 231 in Rockford late Sunday night. The couple, who owned the home returned and found him inside. Wilson said Vernon tied the couple up and stole clothes, guns, a vehicle, and other items.
The vehicle, a 2016 Ford Fusion, was abandoned near Living Water Baptist Church on Elmore County Road 80 just south of the Elmore and Coosa county lines. Vernon then fled into the woods on foot.
The search party later learned Vernon had stolen a small red mini bike electric dirt bike.
Monday afternoon, a mother, father, and their young daughter came into their home on Grass Farm Road in Titus, located in Elmore County, and found items disturbed. The father walked down a hallway and was confronted by Vernon, who was armed, as he came out of a bathroom.
Vernon tied up the adults and put them in a closet. The sheriff said the witnesses were not threatened and that Vernon assured them they would not be hurt.
The child was never tied up, according to the witnesses, because Vernon told them he has a 4-year-old daughter. He added he would likely never see her again.
The victims remained in the closet for several hours before managing to get free. In that time, Vernon had stolen their cell phones, keys, and a silver 2005 Chrysler Pacifica Touring Van.
The sheriff's office says Sunday's escape happened after Vernon was let out of his cell to use the inmate phone system. After a guard failed to secure one of the doors, Vernon went through the door and into a maintenance area where he was able to bypass four security doors.
Investigators and the victims believe Vernon slept in a storage shed on the property because he had items from the shed with him inside the house, using some of it to tie up his victims. Their cell phones were later found in that same storage area.
This is not Vernon's first escape. He previously fled custody in October but was recaptured a few days later. In that case, he was charged with third-degree burglary and second-degree theft of property.
Felony warrants for first-degree unlawful imprisonment, robbery, motor vehicle theft and second-degree escape have been obtained in connection to the latest case. An internal investigation of the correctional officer's actions is underway.
Anyone who knows where Vernon is should contact the Coosa County Sheriff's Office at 256-377-2211 or dial 911.