You can’t make this stuff up.
Two women who were wanted by police after escaping a west Edmonton prison on Monday night were arrested at a local escape room.
“It sort of was funny to think that they weren’t going to escape from an escape room. Definitely not as challenging here as, I assume, escaping from jail would be,” said Rebecca Liaw, who owns SideQuests Adventures escape room in downtown Edmonton with her husband, Jonathan Liaw.
Rebecca said two women who claimed to be from out of town came into their business shortly before 8:30 p.m. Tuesday to inquire about escape rooms. Jonathan said the women told him they had never experienced an escape room before and asked for a tour.
“That’s not out of the ordinary,” he explained. “We get a lot of walk-ins. People are curious, they’ve never done an escape room before.”
Not having seen the news of the escaped prisoners, Rebecca took the women around the corner and down the hall to view one of the rooms. Jonathan stayed at the front reception desk.
“They continued the stream of typical questions,” Rebecca said. “They were extremely cool about it. They kept up a regular conversation, asking completely typical questions that we do get on a daily basis. Nothing out of the ordinary.
“They weren’t in any way threatening,” she said.
While the women were on the tour, a police officer came down the stairs into the business and asked Jonathan if two women had come in without an appointment.
“I was like, ‘Yes, actually, they have,'” he said. “He just called for backup right away. He just said, ‘They’re here.'”
Within seconds, Jonathan said four more police officers came into the building.
“I was getting a little concerned at that point. I was like, ‘Who are we dealing with?'”
Meanwhile, around the corner, Rebecca had been with the women for only about 30 seconds when she looked up and saw the officers.
“I look up behind them to see the hallway full of police officers. They were very, very quickly handcuffed after that and led straight out,” Rebecca explained.
Surveillance video from inside Sidequest Adventures shows the ordeal. The time from when the women enter the business to when they’re arrested lasts only about three minutes.
“It was all very quiet, very peaceful,” Jonathan said.
Police began their search for the women Monday night after prison officials reported two inmates had jumped the east fence of the Edmonton Institution for Women and escaped the facility.
Officers searched the area but were unable to locate Kelsie Laine Marie Mast, 23, and Samantha Faye Toope, 20. Both have a history of weapons offences and police said they are violent offenders.
At around 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, police were led to the area of 104 Street and 102 Avenue after a tip from a citizen who recognized the women.
Jonathan and Rebecca said they had no idea who they were dealing with and were able to find some amusement in the situation.
“Ironic. Somewhat funny. Seeing as they escaped an escape room – technically jail – that wasn’t supposed to be escaped,” Jonathan said.
“Although typically, I don’t think jails put puzzles in the way and they’re not supposed to be escaped so it might be a little different.”
Police said the escapees will be returned to the custody of the Correctional Service of Canada.