Escaped prison inmate caught in Encinitas


A 33-year-old escapee from a state prison in Chino was arrested in Encinitas on the night of Jan. 15, less than 24 hours after he was discovered missing.

Michael Martin Garrett was found just after 6 p.m. at a Vons grocery store on Santa Fe Drive just west of Interstate 5, according to a news release from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

Agents with the department’s Special Service Unit and Fugitive Apprehension Team tracked Garrett to the store by following “investigative leads,” corrections officials said in the statement.

San Diego County Sheriff’s deputies headed to the store and saw Garrett standing in front of the building. He was arrested without incident.

Authorities discovered Garrett missing from the California Institution for Men about 9:15 p.m. Sunday during an evening inmate count, according to a news release issued Monday morning.

He was sent to state prison from San Diego County last fall to serve a four-year, eight-month sentence for first-degree burglary, vehicle theft, and attempting to evade a peace officer while driving recklessly, according to corrections officials.

Garrett was admitted to the Chino prison — which houses about 3,400 minimum- and maximum-security inmates — in October 2017. He was eligible for parole in October 2019, state records show.

State officials say 99 percent of all offenders who have left an adult institution, camp or community-based program without permission since 1997 have been apprehended.