Two men charged with tying up employees at gunpoint during a cellphone store robbery made a dramatic escape Monday from a suburban Silicon Valley courthouse, fleeing in a car waiting outside for them, officials say. The escape by Tramel McClough, 46, and John Bivins, 47, appeared to be orchestrated, and investigators are trying to determine how they got away from a sheriff's deputy who had been guarding them, the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Department said in a statement. The two, who are considered dangerous, escaped from the deputy after they left a courtroom where McClough and Bivins had been brought for a hearing around 9:30am, Sgt. Reggie Cooks says.
The two jumped into the waiting car, which they abandoned a few blocks away from the Palo Alto Courthouse for a U-Haul moving van, Cooks says. People were asked to call police if they see the two men, but not to approach them. "The level of sophistication and brazenness it takes for the individuals to do that—that is why we're calling on the public and other allied agencies to help," Cooks tells the AP. Officials said they were held without bail after robbing a Verizon store of $64,000 in merchandise in February. Police have said they tied up the store employees, forced one to open a safe, and were arrested a short time later after a car chase. (Last year, two inmates in the county escaped using a rope made of sheets.)