Orange County Sheriff's cruiser
Orange County Sheriff's Department cruiser. photo by John Schreiber.

An Orange County jail inmate tried to escape from the Central Men’s Jail in Santa Ana Tuesday, but quick-thinking deputies foiled the plan, authorities said.

Michael Johannes Palko, 31, was dressed in civilian clothes in what’s called a “control area” of the jail, where visitors enter and exit, at about 6 or 7 a.m. Tuesday, said Carrie Braun, a spokeswoman for the Orange County Sheriff’s Department. Palko was originally arrested in May 2021 and booked on suspicion of a robbery in San Clemente, Braun said.

Deputies recognized the inmate, however, and took him back into custody where he was being housed, Braun said.

Deputies conducted a full count of inmates at the Men’s Central Jail and the Intake Release Center and everyone was accounted for, Braun added.

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