The capture is ironic.

Two inmates who escaped from the Edmonton Institution for Women Monday night were captured less than 24 hours later — at an escape room downtown.

Kelsie Laine Marie Mast, 23, and Samantha Faye Toope, 20, had jumped the fence of the prison Monday night and fled.

The owners of SideQuests Adventures on 102nd Avenue and 104th Street, Jonathan and Rebecca Liaw, said two women came down to the lobby of the escape room about 8:30 p.m. Tuesday. 

Kelsie Laine Marie Mast, Samantha Faye Toope

Two prisoners, 20-year-old Samantha Faye Toope (left) and 23-year-old Kelsie Laine Marie Mast (right), escaped from the Edmonton Institution for Women on Monday night. (Edmonton Police Service)

The women asked the standard questions about the popular problem-solving and strategy game rooms where players are given clues and a time limit in which to find their way out. 

Rebecca Liaw took the women down a back hallway to show them one of the theme rooms and explained how they worked. 

"While I was holding that conversation with them, we kind of turned only to find the hallway full of five police officers," she said Wednesday. 

"Then they were arrested immediately, and that was the end of that conversation." 

Everything seemed normal

Jonathan Liaw was in the front lobby when the police came down the stairs asking if he'd seen two women.

"He asked if they had prior appointments with us. I told him, 'No, they did not,' " Liaw said.

Four more police officers joined and proceeded to put the women in handcuffs.

Rebecca Liaw

Rebecca Liaw, co-owner of SideQuests Adventures, was showing two women one of the escape rooms when police came in. (CBC)

"There were no signs of anything that we should be red-flagging," Liaw said. "They didn't seem like they were hiding from anyone or anything." 

He said the women, dressed in jeans and hoodies, had carried on a normal conversation, asking normal questions.

"How many puzzles? How long was the timer? What are the themes we have? That sort of thing."

In a downtown location where panhandlers and intoxicated people are fairly common, Liaw said this situation was unique. 

"We get lots of interesting visitors but this is definitely top of the list for 'definitely interesting.' "

Jeff Campbell, regional communications manager for the Prairie region with Correctional Service Canada, said it wasn't immediately clear how the women got away from the prison at 11151 178th St.

He said they were looking into the situation to prevent future escapes.

Edmonton police described both women as violent offenders with a history of weapons offences.

Toope is serving a two-year sentence for robbery, theft, possession of property obtained by crime and dangerous operation of a motor vehicle.

Mast is serving two years and nine months for drug trafficking, theft, possession of property obtained by crime and mischief.


Rebecca and Jonathan Liaw, co-owners of SideQuests Adventures, the escape room business where two prison escapees were arrested Tuesday. (CBC)