Police in Cessnock said Benjamin Wayne Scott, 31 -- who was serving a 12-month sentence for assault, robbery and driving offenses -- used his privileges as a minimum security inmate at the jail to obtain milk crates and stack them so he could get over a fence, The Sydney Morning Herald reported Friday.
Jail guards raised the alarm around 10 a.m. Thursday and gave police intelligence about where Scott might have gone and who he might have contacted.
Scott, who would have been eligible for parole in January, was arrested at a shopping center around 3 p.m. He was still wearing his green prison jumpsuit.
Scott has been moved to maximum security and faces a charge of escaping lawful custody, police said.