Just Making A Quick Trip To Walmart For Some Cigs, Warden

It's bad enough when inmates are escaping from jails. Is it worse when they're returning to jails?

The Austin American-Statesman broke the story of a trustee at a minimum-level TDCJ facility in Sugar Land who broke out -- if that isn't too strenuous a word for the effort involved -- up to 70 times to stroll down and pick up cigarettes and smokeless tobacco at a nearby Walmart.

Skyler Steddum, 19, who's serving time -- such as it is -- for burglary and related charges, was spotted last week doing some shopping.

He was tracked down using the store's security cameras, which are apparently better than the TDCJ's. Reports are that Steddum had dyed his prison suit brown through the use of coffee.

"He went out on Tuesday. We didn't find out about it until Friday night, when somebody inside the prison snitched him off," John Moriarty, inspector general for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, told the Statesman.

Houston Senator John Whitmire, chair of the committee that supervises the prison system -- and a guy who kept getting calls last year from a Death Row inmate with a smuggled cel -- is not too happy:

It might be funny if it weren't so absurd. People shopping at a Walmart shouldn't have to worry that the person standing next to them in line is supposed to be in a prison.

And the fact that Walmart has better security cameras than our prisons, well, this whole situation begs a whole lot of questions.

Steddum has pretty much blown his chances for parole any time soon. But he may have a lucrative Walmart endorsement gig when he gets out: "Walmart -- Prices so low you'll be breaking out!" "No jail could hold me when I heard about that 2-for-1 paper-towel deal!!"

Lame, we know. But then again, it is Walmart.

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