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Authorities looking for 6 escaped convicts in Merced County

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Posted at 9:53 AM, Jan 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-11 12:53:30-05

MERCED COUNTY, Calif. (KERO) — Law enforcement officers in Merced County are on the lookout after six inmates escaped the county jail over the weekend.

According to the Merced County Sheriffs Office, the inmates climbed over a 20-foot high roof by using braided sheets that turned into a rope. Authorities believe the escape happened around 11:30 Saturday night but it wasn't noticed until Sunday morning.

All of the inmates are between the ages of 19 and 21. Many of them are facing multiple charges including attempted murder and assault with a firearm.

According to the sheriff's office, certain protocols prevented officers from recognizing they were gone sooner.

"We do have officers walking up and down the cell blocks, but we are no longer allowed to wake them up, because they deemed it necessary for them to have a whole night's sleep," said Merced County Sheriff Vern Warnke.

Warnke also said that outdated infrastructure could have contributed to the escape.

Merced County is currently in the process of building a new jail.