Jefferson County Jail escapee arrested in Boulder County

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BOULDER, Colo. -- The first escapee in the 27-year history of the Jefferson County Jail made it almost two weeks before he was taken back into custody in Boulder on Thursday morning.

The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office confirmed that at 8:30 a.m., Travis Sandlin, who escaped from the county's jail on the evening of Oct. 5, was taken back into custody in the Sunshine Canyon area, which is northwest of the city of Boulder.

After his arrest, Sandlin was taken to a nearby hospital and not back to jail because of injuries sustained in a vehicle rollover, which eventually led to him being taken back into custody.

Sheriff's office spokesperson Ted Mink said the operation to capture Sandlin began when a stolen vehicle from Arvada was spotted outside an empty house that was for on sale on the 3900 block of Sunshine Canyon Drive. When Sandlin was called out of the house, he jumped in the stolen vehicle and rammed a SWAT team BearCat, an armored, Humvee-like vehicle,  in an attempt to escape, flipping his stolen vehicle.

One day earlier, officers reportedly attempted to take Sandlin into custody in Lakewood around noon, but he speed off, driving in excess of 100 miles per hour. Mink said officers were told not to engage in a high-speed chase with Mink, as the preference was to take him into custody in a more controlled location.

Showing no indication that he had the interest or the means to flee the state or even the Front Range, Sandlin was spotted in Commerce City, Wheat Ridge and Lakewood, alluding multiple law enforcement agencies for well over a week before his capture and brazenly stealing at least six vehicles and several credit cards from open garages and unlocked homes across the Denver Metro area.

Mink said there were indications that Sandlin received aid from friends on the outside, and that the sheriff's office is "looking into that."

Before his escape, Sandlin, a registered sex offender with a long rap sheet, was in the maximum security pod at the Jefferson County Jail for crimes that included burglary, theft and drugs.

When he returns to the jail, Sandlin will kept in a special housing unit and "monitored constantly," Mink said.

Sandlin was in the outdoor recreation area on Oct. 5, when he pushed through the wiring, jumped two stories and ran off. Mink said that the contractor hired this summer to reinforce the metal mesh that Sandlin broke through did not do the job properly.

"We thought the fix was done but apparently it was not," Mink said. "They (the contractors) are going to be held responsible for their work. There might be some lawsuits."

When FOX31 Denver' Greg Nieto spoke with inmates on work detail outside of the Jefferson County Jail Thursday morning, they called Sandlin a "cult hero," considering the historic nature of his escape.

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