Suspect in local storage unit thefts escapes custody during transport

Tyler Martinez, in handcuffs, managed to flee O'Hare and was last seen on a car rental shuttle bus
Published: Mar. 9, 2022 at 10:25 AM CST|Updated: Mar. 9, 2022 at 7:25 PM CST
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BROWN COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) - A man wanted wanted for multiple crimes in Brown County has escaped custody.

On Tuesday, the Brown County Sheriff’s Office was informed that Tyler James Martinez, 31, escaped from a transport service at Chicago O’Hare Airport. It happened at about 1:10 p.m.

Martinez was being transported by REDI Transports of Green Bay back to Brown County.

Martinez has been named a suspect in multiple storage unit thefts in Brown County. Martinez has a lengthy criminal history dating back to 2008 -- the year he escaped juvenile custody. He currently has nationwide warrants for drug crimes, damage to property and bail jumping.

Martinez was recently arrested in California in a vehicle stolen from Ashwaubenon. He had been held at the Los Angeles County Jail awaiting extradition. REDI Transports, a contracted service for Brown County Sheriff’s Office, was called upon to transport Martinez from Los Angeles and deliver him to the Brown County Jail.

A REDI officer and Martinez flew from L.A. to Chicago where they were waiting for the connecting flight to Appleton.

“It was reported that the transporting officer, while obtaining food for the arrestee, turned his attention away from Martinez. Martinez ran away from the transport officer. The transport officer could not locate Martinez, so the transport officer immediately contacted the Chicago Police Department at the airport to report the escape and to request their assistance in re-securing Martinez. Officers were unable to locate Martinez inside the airport. In follow up efforts to locate Martinez, Chicago Police Department officers viewed surveillance video which showed Martinez had slipped at least one of the handcuffs and was last seen fleeing the airport boarding a car rental shuttle bus,” reads a statement from the Brown County Sheriff’s Office.

He was handcuffed but was not wearing a jail jumpsuit. Martinez was wearing his own clothes from the day he was arrested -- a light gray sweatshirt, dark sweatpants and dark tennis shoes.

Martinez is not believed to have any weapons or money or means of communication.

Action 2 News talked to a few law enforcement agencies working on cases against Martinez. They are frustrated with his escape.

The Brown County Sheriff’s Office has suspended its service with REDI Transports for extraditions across state lines. Sheriff Todd Delain says his office will work with REDI Transports to conduct a thorough investigation.

“The breach of secure custody during this transport violates the standards of service expected by the Brown County Sheriff’s Office. As a result, Sheriff Delain has immediately suspended the use of REDI Transports for nationwide extraditions,” the office says.

The sheriff’s office does not pay the service until the inmate is delivered.

This is not the first time a suspect has escaped custody from REDI Transports.

In Dec. 2020, Leon Taylor escaped from custody during a fast food stop with an agent from REDI Transports. It happened in Indiana as Taylor was being transported to Illinois. Taylor was later captured.

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