March 17, 2009

‘Little Houdini’ back behind bars

A southern outlaw known for exploits like escaping from chains in the parking lot of a Waffle House in Tennessee is being handled with extra precautions.

Christopher Daniel Gay, nicknamed Little Houdini because of his success getting out of custody, was arrested Monday in Florida, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. Authorities in Florida say he stole a tractor-trailer rig and used it to steal a front-end loader.

He is being treated as an escape risk. He is in isolation, said Carrie Eleazer, spokeswoman for the sheriff's office in Polk County, Fla.

Gay had been a fugitive since March 3, when he was being transported from Florida to Tennessee. He managed to get out of handcuffs and restraints at the Waffle House near Kenesaw State University in Georgia.

Gay became the subject of a country western song after a 2007 escape. He got away from two police officers at a rest stop in South Carolina and allegedly drove to Manchester, Tenn., in a stolen pickup.

Investigators say he then stole a loaded Wal-Mart tractor-trailer truck and headed for his mother's house, where she was dying of cancer. He was intercepted when he arrived there.