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Kimberly Ann Parkinson escaped from sheriff's officers during a routine prisoner transfer in downtown St. John's. (CBC)

CBC News has learned that a woman who escaped from custody in St. John's on Monday had help from a fellow inmate.

Kimberly Ann Parkinson, 39, was one of nine prisoners being transferred in a van from provincial court in Atlantic Place to the city lockup across the street around 5:15 p.m.

As the prisoners were getting out of the corrections van, another woman in the group acted as if she was injured. When the sheriff's officers shifted their attention to her, Parkinson fled, running down Water Street with her hands still bound.

Monday also happened to be Parkinson's 39th birthday.

After an intense police search, the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary said officers found Parkinson early Tuesday afternoon and arrested her without incident.

Parkinson already has an eight-page criminal record, mostly for thefts and shoplifting. She's also been in court for numerous breaches of court orders and probation.

Charges related to her escape will be dealt with on Wednesday, when she appears in court on an unrelated matter.