Jimmy Causey escaped from a South Carolina prison this week, but his methods this time around were far more high-tech than they were a dozen years ago, when he broke free from another maximum-security state prison.
The authorities in South Carolina say they believe that Mr. Causey, who was captured Friday in Texas after fleeing from prison on Tuesday night, had used at least one cellphone and a drone to make his escape.
“We 100 percent know a cellphone was used or multiple cellphones were used while he was incarcerated, and we believe a drone was used to fly in the tools that allowed him to escape,” Bryan Stirling, the director of the South Carolina Department of Corrections, said at a news conference on Friday. Mr. Causey was serving a life sentence for kidnapping a lawyer.
A tip early Friday led the authorities to a Motel 6 in Austin, Tex., where Mr. Causey, 46, was staying, according to Mark Keel, the head of the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division
The authorities in South Carolina notified the Texas Rangers, who visited the room around 4 a.m., he said. There, they found Mr. Causey, who was sleeping and did not resist their efforts to take him in. He had a semiautomatic pistol, a pump shotgun, extra ammunition, four cellphones and $47,654 in cash. The authorities did not identify the source of the money.
Mr. Causey escaped around 8 p.m. Tuesday, when, as others around the country participated in Independence Day celebrations, he used a wire cutter to clip his way through four fences at the Lieber Correctional Institution, the maximum-security prison in Ridgeville, S.C., where he was being held.
As he had done during his prison escape in 2005, Mr. Causey used a dummy to fool prison officials, who did not notice he was missing until about 2 p.m. the next day. The authorities did not say what materials were used to make the decoy or how he made his way to Texas.
Both Chief Keel and Mr. Stirling criticized federal authorities for failing to provide state prison officials with the authority to jam cellphone signals at their institutions.
“No longer are people stopped from continuing their criminal ways from behind bars. They are physically incarcerated, but they are no longer virtually incarcerated,” Mr. Stirling said.
But Mr. Causey did not need a phone when he and another inmate escaped from prison in late 2005.
That time, they fooled corrections officers who were conducting a prison count at the Broad River Correctional Institution by placing heads made of toilet paper in their beds. The pair then hid in a trash bin and then rode off with a truck that came to pick it up.
They were loose for two days before being done in by a pizza order. When the food arrived at their motel, the pair instructed a delivery woman to put it on a table and take the money they had left there.
The episode made the woman, Judie Trainer, uneasy. So, that night, she told her husband, who notified a law enforcement officer, Ms. Trainer told The New York Times in an interview this week.
In addition to the kidnapping charge, Mr. Causey had committed a range of other offenses beginning in the early 1990s, according to an inmate report.