CAPTURED: Work release inmate walks off job, steals van

Jeremy Blackburn (Source: West Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office)
Jeremy Blackburn (Source: West Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office)

BRUSLY, LA (WAFB) - A West Baton Rouge Parish work release inmate allegedly walked off his job at Bayou Bistro in Brusly Tuesday night and stole one of the restaurant's vans, according to Sheriff Mike Cazes.

The sheriff said it was Blackburn's family that tipped them off to his possible location.

"They told him to go back and he just wouldn't," said Cazes. "Thank God the family called in."

The West Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office said the inmate is now back in custody in St. Mary Parish. The inmate has been identified as Jeremy Blackburn, 39.

Blackburn was reportedly in Amelia Wednesday morning and was pulled over in the van he allegedly stole. St. Mary officials said Blackburn failed to pull over and lost control of the van, then drove into a ditch on Duhon Bypass Road.

The sheriff said Blackburn was set to be released in August of 2018. Now with two more charges of simple escape and theft, he could be looking at even more time.

"Simple escape automatically gives him two more years. Instead of getting out in five months, he will probably get out in five years."

But Cazes said it was no easy task for Blackburn to get the job, on top of once being a trustee, Blackburn went through weeks of coursework and completed the Reinvestment Program to become eligible for the work release program. The sheriff said right now, it's back to square one.

"You never know what goes through an inmate's mind or a resident's mind. He might've gotten a call. I don't' know. I can't answer that. He just screwed up. Thank God he didn't commit any crimes and we got him back in custody in less than 24 hours," Cazes added.

Officials reported Blackburn will be returned to West Baton Rouge Parish.

Copyright 2018 WAFB. All rights reserved.