UPDATE 9:21 AM: Officials with the Brunswick County Sheriff's office say they have arrested escaped inmate William Hewett.

According to a BCSO spokesperson, Hewett and several family suspected of aiding in his escape were arrested at a residence in Southport, North Carolina, early Tuesday morning.


A search is underway for a North Carolina inmate who escaped from jail by posing as his brother and walking right out the front door.

22-year-old William Hewett was arrested on Jan. 21 after fleeing deputies in a stolen car. He was being held at Brunswick County jail in Bolivia, North Carolina, facing various assault charges including first-degree kidnapping.

Deputies allege that William Hewett and his brother, Curtis Hewett, exchanged armbands while being held in the same cell on Jan. 29. William Hewett then presented himself as his brother after Curtis had bonded out on lesser charges.

Newly released surveillance video from the county jail shows the desk officer notice something awry as Hewett exits.

The portly officer attempts to pursue him, but Hewett is easily able to run away.

Authorities said that Hewett fled to a nearby wooded area and is still at large.

He is described as white with brown hair and blue eyes. He is 5 feet 7 inches tall and weighs 140 pounds.

Officials said that Corporal Ashley Nicole Harrell, who was responsible for processing inmates as they were released, has been fired.

WECT reported:

Officials interviewed Curtis, who admitted to the scheme and has since been charged with aiding the escape. Ingram said any friends or family members who helped with his escape will be charged.

Multiple agencies, as well as bloodhounds and helicopter units were brought in Thursday to assist the Brunswick County Sheriff's Office in the search for Hewett. State Highway patrol officers were stopping and checking all vehicles near the Brunswick County Courthouse.

After six hours of searching for William Hewett Brunswick County Sheriff John Ingram said it's time for him to turn himself in.

"If he or any of this friends are trying to assist him, we do have information that that's a possibility, I want to send a clear message to them that they will be held accountable as well if they attempt to assist him in any way. The best thing for him to do is go ahead and give up...and you know, be held accountable for his actions today."

Ingram said there is no evidence that William has a weapon, but is stressing that people in the area lock their homes and vehicles.

"We don't take it for granted," Ingram explained. "If they will go through the lengths of planning an escape, and this isn't the first time he's run from us, a person in this situation is desperate to stay away from us and might do anything."

William is described as 5'7" tall weighing approximately 140 pounds with blue eyes and brown hair. William has three distinguishing tattoos: 'Kathy' on his left hand, 'Will' on his right, upper arm, and a teardrop near his right eye. Officials say William is a validated member of the Folk Nation gang and anyone that makes contact with him should use extreme caution.

If you know of William's whereabouts, please contact the Brunswick County Sheriff's Office at 910-253-2777 or dial 911. The sheriff's office is offering a $2,500 reward to anyone with information that leads to the arrest of William Hewett.

K-9 and helicopter units continue to search areas between Bolivia and Southport. Officials with the Brunswick County Sheriff's Office confirm the search has also stretched into South Carolina because Hewett has family there.There have been unconfirmed reports of Hewett sightings in New Hanover County this weekend, according to dispatchers.

"When we get him in custody, he will not escape again," Sheriff Ingram assured.

Watch video of the brazen escape above.