A San Quentin inmate who escaped the penitentiary earlier this week was taken into custody on Saturday afternoon. Shalom Mendoza, 21, was arrested at a Taco Bell in Paso Robles.
Mendoza had already been on the run for three days when the urge for his favorite Taco Bell meal became too much. The escaped convict popped into the chain restaurant and was spotted by a member of the public, per The Mercury News. This civilian contacted the agents who quickly responded to the tip.
It appears as if the civilian recognized Mendoza from descriptions released to the press about the escaped convict. The 21-year-old was described as a 5-foot-5-inch, 177-pound male of Hispanic descent, who had brown hair and brown eyes. The public was warned that Mendoza was considered dangerous. Authorities had launched a manhunt for the inmate across the state.
It is reported that Mendoza was taken into custody without incident by the Office of Correctional Safety Special Service Unit’s agents. He was then transported to Salinas Valley State Prison where his case will be referred to the Marin County District Attorney’s office. Mendoza is expected to now face additional charges of escaping from prison and carjacking, seeing as how he stole a Toyota RAV4.
Mendoza is already serving five years for the use of a deadly weapon during a carjacking and avoiding a law officer while he was driving recklessly. He was sentenced in 2017 for his crimes.
A brief timeline of Mendoza’s escape from San Quentin State Prison indicates that Mendoza had been assigned to work outside the penitentiary’s secured perimeter. He was then reported as a missing inmate when the prison performed a head count at approximately 9:35 on Wednesday, December 26.
He then carjacked another victim in a Home Depot parking lot which is located close to San Quentin State Prison. He took the victim’s Toyota RAV4.
At some point, Mendoza bought himself some dark clothing and changed out of his prison attire so that he would not be as visible to members of the public.
The convict abandoned the stolen Toyota RAV4 along Highway 101 north of Paso Robles on Friday.
On Friday, December 28, Mendoza was spotted at a Dollar Store in San Miguel. He was seen at around 4.20 p.m. that afternoon.
Investigators believed that Mendoza was heading south towards the Los Angeles area when the Taco Bell craving hit him. He was arrested around lunchtime at about 12:30 p.m.