Tulsa Couple Helps Police Catch Prison Escapee

Wednesday, July 29th 2020, 5:22 pm
By: Reagan Ledbetter

TULSA, Okla. -

A Tulsa couple helped police catch a prison escapee with the help of their home surveillance system.

Christopher Coffey escaped from Jackie Brannon in McAlester in April, where he was serving a 10-year sentence. Police caught Coffey in the Arkansas River after they say he tried to escape.

Related Story: Tulsa Police: Suspected Burglar Found Attempting To Swim Away In Arkansas River

Ted and Diana Howard were out of town when their security cameras caught Christopher Coffey walking through their backyard earlier in the day.

"There was someone walking around in my backyard,” said Ted Howard. “While I am watching the cameras I tell Diana to call the police."

Ted used the speaker on the surveillance camera and yelled at Coffey, asking him what he was doing in his yard.

“He didn't smile exactly but there he was,” said Ted.

Ted and Diana sent officers the video and less than 2 hours later, they had Coffey in custody.

"He decided to run to the river, jump in the river and try to swim for it,” said Sgt. Brandon Davis with the Tulsa Police Downtown Impact Unit.

Tulsa Firefighters used a boat to help police pull Coffey and his backpack, out of the river. Sgt. Davis said evidence in Coffey's backpack, ties him to six different burglaries near downtown.

"There's state ID's, medical marijuana cards, different membership cards to retailers, stuff like that. Gift cards I think,” says Davis.

Coffey was serving time in prison for assault, stealing a car and a escaping from prison once before.

The Howards said they had no clue who was in their yard, but they are glad they could help the police.

"We are just glad that it was all resolved and some of it was a benefit to the community and others,” said Diana.

"It just made me happy that I had the backup from the officers when I couldn't be there,” said Ted.

"If they hadn't called, we wouldn't have caught him, at least right then,” said Sgt. Davis.

The Howards said Tulsa Police sent them a personal email thanking them for all of their help.