2 inmates must have taken days to pull off escape: NY governor
Two murderers who used power tools to escape in the “Shawshank Redemption”-style breakout from prison must have taken days to cut through steel walls and pipes and break through the bricks, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Sunday.
Authorities posted a US$100,000 reward for information leading to their capture as they investigated how the inmates obtained the power tools they used in the weekend breakout.
“It was a sophisticated plan,” Cuomo said. “It took a period of time, no doubt, to execute.”
David Sweat, 34, was serving a sentence of life without parole for the 2002 killing of a sheriff’s deputy. Richard Matt, 48, had been sentenced to 25 years to life for kidnapping, killing and dismembering his former boss in 1997.
“These are killers. They are murderers,” the governor said. “There’s never been a question about the crimes they committed. They are now on the loose, and our first order of business is apprehending them.”
Officials gave no details on how the men managed to avoid detection while cutting their way out. “They had to be heard,” Cuomo told ABC’s “Good Morning America.”
After the search is over, “we’ll go through the exact details of what they did and how they did it to ensure this never happens again,” Cuomo said later.
Authorities set up roadblocks and brought in bloodhounds and helicopters. Hundreds of law enforcement officers fanned out around the prison, about 32 kilometers south of the Canadian border, following up on dozens of tips.
“They’re going through garages, sheds, homes, stores,” said Dannemora local historian Peter Light, who worked at the prison as a correction officer for 31 years and now runs the prison museum inside the facility.
But authorities acknowledged they did not have a good idea where the convicts could be.
Dubbed “Little Siberia” by locals, the prison houses nearly 3,000 inmates, guarded by about 1,400 correction officers. Surrounded by farmland and forests, the prison is only about a 45-minute drive by car to Montreal.
Cuomo said the escapees may have crossed into Canada or headed to another state.
“This is a crisis situation for the state,” he said. “These are dangerous men capable of committing grave crimes again.”
Prison officials found the inmates’ beds inside the 150-yearold Clinton Correctional Facility stuffed with clothes on Saturday morning in an apparent attempt to fool guards making their rounds. On a cut steam pipe, the prisoners left a taunting note containing a crude Asian caricature and the words “Have a nice day.”
Officials said the inmates cut through the steel wall at the back of their cell, crawled down a catwalk, broke through a brick wall, cut their way into and out of a steam pipe, and then sliced through the chain and lock on a manhole cover outside the prison.
This combination made from photos released by the New York State Police shows inmates David Sweat, left, and Richard Matt.