A man sleeping in bed in his cell turned to be a dummy: sweat pants and a shirt stuffed with newspapers and a mop for a head.
When the "decoy" was discovered at the Suffolk County jail on Wednesday, the facility went into lockdown and a search ensued. The inmate, Wayne Leibold, 41, was found about three minutes later, working in another area of the jail.
Leibold faced disciplinary action, Sheriff Vincent DeMarco said. He was not charged with a crime or violation. His motive for planting the dummy was not immediately clear.
The sheriff said the dummy was found during a random search for contraband, such as weapons, drugs or homemade wine.
An officer who was conducting the search walked into Leibold's cell, found Leibold was not there and immediately alerted authorities, the New York Post reported Thursday.
Leibold, who was convicted of aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle and driving while intoxicated, was due to be released in about 30 days.
"That's what's bizarre about this," DeMarco told Newsday. "Everybody thinks someone facing life in jail or some heavy time would be more apt to try to escape."
Leibold's lawyer could not immediately be reached for comment.
An investigation was continuing.
More than 3,500 people were detained during unprecedented mass protests that swept across all of Russia in support of Alexey Navalny on January 23