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A full-scale manhunt is underway in Arizona for two inmates who escaped from state prison in Florence by fighting their way through a fence with tools stolen from a shed.
Arizona Department of Corrections officials said John Charpiot, a convicted child molester, and David Harmon, a convicted kidnapper, escaped from the south middle custody unit Saturday.
They said the two were not accounted for during the 8:30 p.m. inmate count. after being there for the 4 p.m. count.
The pair broke out of the prison from the medium custody south unit in Florence, Arizona
Charpiot and Harmon broke into a tool shed, knocking over an air conditioning unit and smashing a wall, according to authorities.
The two inmates were able to obtain a bolt cutter, wire scissors and other items and used them to cut a fence.
The items were recovered inside and outside the facility room.
At a news conference Sunday at the Florence prison, Corrections officials said the department is offering rewards of $ 25,000 per inmate for information leading to their arrests.
Arizona Governor Doug Ducey announced that the US Marshals Service has offered an additional $ 10,000 per inmate, bringing the total to $ 70,000.
A helicopter is seen in the sky searching for the two escapees in Arizona
Corrections officials said they have dispatched chase teams, dog tracking teams and a runaway detention unit to find runaway inmates along with help from the Arizona Department of Public Safety.
“The department will not rest until these prisoners have been detained,” the agency said in a press release.
DPS Col. Heston Silbert said the search includes barricades outside Florence, two different SWAT teams, air units and investigators contacting potential affiliates of the inmates.
Charpiot was sent to prison in 2011 with a 35-year sentence for sexual abuse of a child and sexual abuse outside of Maricopa County.
Harmon has been incarcerated since 2012 after being convicted outside of Maricopa County and sentenced to 100 years on charges of kidnapping and second-degree robbery, AZCentral.com reported.
Arizona Gov Doug Ducey on Sunday tweeted about the prison break in Florence
His criminal history dates back to at least 1987 and includes multiple convictions, including on charges of attempted sexual assault and kidnapping, and second-degree escape.
“We are looking for a background check to find someone who may be affiliated with or knows the suspects, or who wants to help the suspects,” DPS Director Heston Silbert said, according to Fox 10 Phoenix.
Silbert added that the fugitives must be considered dangerous, having committed what he described as “heinous crimes.”
“If runaway inmates are seeing this, turn yourself in, it would be best for both you and the community,” said Frank Strada, deputy director of the department of correction.
Anyone with information on his whereabouts should call 911 or Silent Witness at 480-WITNESS.