SAN QUENTIN (CBS SF) — A San Quentin inmate who had walked away from the prison on Wednesday and carjacked his way to the Central Coast, is back behind bars in San Luis Obispo.
Shalom Mendoza, 21, was taken into custody about 12:30 p.m. at a Taco Bell in Paso Robles, according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
Someone saw Mendoza at the restaurant and called authorities. The escapee was the subject of a manhunt and his photo had been posted on several sites.
Mendoza had been assigned to work outside the secured perimeter at San Quentin and apparently walked away from the facility around 9:35 p.m. Wednesday. He was discovered missing during an institutional check, prison officials said.
Mendoza then carjacked a woman at a Home Depot parking lot in San Rafael and fled in a Toyota RAV4, police said.
“He said, ‘Give me the key, I have a gun – if not, I’m going to kill you’ and he do like this, ‘if not I’m going to kill you.” said Sang Nguyen.
Mendoza had been spotted Friday in San Miguel after he apparently ditched the carjacked getaway vehicle along Highway 101, near Paso Robles. He was seen at a Dollar Store in nearby San Miguel, where he purchased dark clothing to replace his prison garb.
Detectives believe he was trying to make it to Los Angeles. That’s where he earned the 5-year sentence he was serving at San Quentin.
Mendoza was sentenced to five years in prison for using a deadly weapon during a carjacking/attempted carjacking and evading or attempting to evade peace officers while driving recklessly in Los Angeles County in December 2017. He arrived at San Quentin on April 28.
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