Thomas Kelley, 51, escaped from Donovan State Prison on New Year's Day after allegedly stealing a fire engine. He worked as a prison firefighter.
The fire truck was found abandoned about 10 miles away from the prison.
Kelley was spotted by sheriff's deputies at a trolley station in the 1700 block of San Altos Place in Lemon Grove.
He was arrested without incident.
Kelley was serving time for a parole violation and was due to be released in 2013.
City News Service contributed to this report.