The investigation into an alleged escape attempt at the Weber County Jail continues after jail maintenance staff members found contraband in an area inmates are not supposed to have access to, said Weber County Sheriff's Correction Division Chief Deputy Gerald Cook.
Cook declined to go into detail about what kinds of items were found but said they were taken from other areas of the jail and not homemade or smuggled in from outside the jail. The items were discovered in the F-pod section of the jail.
All of F-pod was put into lockdown when the items were discovered. The lockdown was lifted Monday night. F-pod holds approximately 280 inmates, Cook said.
Upon further investigation, deputies discovered that there was a plan by several inmates to gain access to a sort of attic area through a plumbing chase and knock a hole through the roof, he said. Detectives found areas where insulation had been knocked out but the inmates apparently were having a hard time breaking through the rest of the roof because of the steel reinforcement.
"They were obviously working on something. They didn't make any substantive progress. But given enough time, they could have," Cook said.
Deputies had a good idea Tuesday of who was involved in the escape plot, he said without releasing further details. No charges had been filed in connection with the escape as of Tuesday but Cook noted the suspects weren't going anywhere since they were all inmates.
Cook declined Tuesday to say how many inmates he thought were involved in the plot.
F-pod has minimum security inmates who work in the kitchen, on cleaning crews or work maintenance. They have as much access to the jail as inmates are allowed to have, Cook said.
Usually, the inmates are put in work groups that can average about 30 people. Because of the size of the groups, Cook said it's not inconceivable that one person could sneak away to work on the escape plan.
"There's no one-on-one supervision," he said.
As more information is obtained through the investigation, Cook said his staff will see if changes need to be made in the way the jail is run to prevent any other escape attempts. One area he said the jail is already looking at is, "Try not to be too routine."
Inmates are constantly trying to beat the system and deputies are looking to thwart that, Cook said.
"These are the sort of things we work on all the time. This one was just a little more overt," he said.