Police capture escapee Louis Chavez

By Sharna Johnson: CNJ staff writer

The seventh of eight escaped inmates was captured Monday night after a citizen spotted 19-year-old Louis Chavez in a Clovis grocery store, according to police.

Chavez was captured without incident in a vehicle outside Lowe’s grocery store on 14th Street, according to Police Capt. Patrick Whitney.

Whitney said a citizen called Crime Stoppers around 6:23 p.m. and told police Chavez was at Lowe’s. “It was a customer that was in (the store); they thought they recognized him,” he said.

As officers pulled into the parking lot, they saw Chavez and another male get into a vehicle. When approached the vehicle, they discovered Chavez hunkered down, hiding on the floorboard, Whitney said.

Chavez gave officers a false name, but was quickly identified through tattoos and other characteristics, Whitney said.

Chavez was among a group of eight inmates who escaped Aug. 24 from the Curry County Adult Detention Center by stealing a key to a plumbing closet, climbing pipes and cutting a hole in the roof of the jail.

He was being held on charges of burglary, larceny and extreme cruelty to animals.

Edward Salas, 24, a convicted killer, still remains at large.

Chavez told investigators Monday night the escapees went their separate ways and said he has no knowledge of Salas’ whereabouts, Whitney said. Investigators are skeptical, Whitney said.

“That’s the story he’s giving,” Whitney said. “He’s not being cooperative.”

Whitney said Chavez told police he had been hiding in Texas and only returned to Clovis a couple of hours prior to his capture.

The male with Chavez told police he had just picked him up at Brady and Prince streets. “They’re claiming not to know each other,” Whitney said.

The male driver of the vehicle was charged with aiding and abetting a felon, Whitney said.

Whitney said he was not certain of the second suspect’s name. Jail officials said they were not at liberty to release his name.