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San Quentin prison escapee found 200 miles away at a Taco Bell

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Posted at 2:24 PM, Dec 29, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-29 17:26:21-05

(KGTV) — An inmate who escaped from San Quentin State Prison in Northern California the day after Christmas was apprehended Saturday about 200 miles away.

Shalom Mendoza, 21, was reported missing just after 9:30 p.m. on Dec. 26 after he had been working outside of the prison perimeter with other inmates, according to the state Corrections and Rehabilitation Department (CDCR).

Investigators began searching the surrounding area and say he appeared to have carjacked a Toyota Rav4 from a Home Depot parking lot in the San Rafael area.

RELATED: San Quentin State Prison inmate escapes, suspected in carjacking

The Toyota was later found abandoned off the 101 Freeway north of Paso Robles on Friday. That led CDCR officials closer to Mendoza.

A civilian saw Mendoza at a Taco Bell location in Paso Robles and called authorities, who placed him in custody without incident at about 12:30 p.m. Saturday.

Mendoza now faces escape and carjacking charges. He was serving a five-year sentence for use of a deadly weapon during a carjacking/attempted carjacking and evading or attempting to evade a peace officer while driving recklessly.