A Texas fugitive hiding out in Denver went to great lengths Wednesday to try to avoid being captured, even using a bed sheet to scale down a 20-floor apartment unit.

Donnie Lee Griffin, 30, was captured by authorities Wednesday after being on the lam since September when he escaped a federal prison in Texas, said Ken Deal, a spokesman for the U.S. Marshals Service.

Marshals, the Secret Service and Denver police worked on the investigation and capture.

Griffin was staying in an apartment on the 20th flood of an apartment building in the 1700 block of Basset Street, Deal said.

Authorities surrounded the building and forced their way into the apartment, at which point they saw him hanging onto a bed sheet over the ledge of the balcony, Deal said.

"They were surprised to see that," he said.

While bizarre, that was just the start of Griffin's daring escape attempt.

Managing to drop down to a balcony on the 19th floor, Griffin broke into a unit and ran through the apartment while the resident was inside.

"At that point, the entire building was locked down," Deal said.

When SWAT officers located Griffin in the garbage chute on the 17th floor, he slid down the entire length of the chute to the first floor where he was taken into custody.

"He had minor injuries, but was walking around," Deal said. "Can't imagine he smelled very good."

Griffin was in a minium security federal prison in Anthony, Texas, for fraud-related crimes, but nothing violent, when he escaped from a work crew, Deal said.

"The extent he went to in order to try and escape is significant for a white collar criminal," Deal said. "We've never seen that before."

Griffin is currently in Denver jail before he is transferred for escape and new charges yet to be determined.

Investigators are looking at every move he made while in Denver to see if there is a more significant crime that led to such a daring escape attempt.

Ryan Parker: 303-954-2409, rparker@denverpost.com or twitter.com/ryanparkerdp