2 men es­cape from up­state N.Y. prison

Fed­eral and state of­fi­cials are search­ing for a pair of con­victed killers who broke out us­ing power tools.

Los Angeles Times - - THE NATION - By Katie Shep­herd katie.shep­herd@la­times.com Twit­ter: @katemshep­herd

Prison guards peered into the cells of two men ev­ery other hour, con­vinced the inmates were asleep in their bunks.

But some­time dur­ing the night, au­thor­i­ties con­ceded Satur­day, the con­victed mur­der­ers went at the steel walls of their cells with power tools.

They cut holes big enough to squeeze through and slid onto a cat­walk six sto­ries above the ground at the Clin­ton Cor­rec­tional Fa­cil­ity in up­state New York.

The men made their way through an “elab­o­rate maze” of tun­nels be­low the prison, said New York Gov. An­drew Cuomo at a tele­vised news con­fer­ence Satur­day af­ter­noon.

Richard Matt, 48, and David Sweat, 34, emerged from a man­hole sev­eral blocks out­side the prison’s gates. The es­cape was the first from the max­i­mum-se­cu­rity fa­cil­ity in its150-year his­tory, Cuomo said.

Guards no­ticed the two men were miss­ing dur­ing a 5:30 a.m. bed check at the prison in Dannemora, which is about 20 miles from the Cana­dian bor­der.

Matt and Sweat fash­ioned de­coys out of their few pos­ses­sions to sug­gest that their beds were oc­cu­pied.

“The first or­der of busi­nes­sis to find these in­di­vid­u­als and re­turn them to prison,” then the prison and po­lice will fo­cus on in­ves­ti­gat­ing how the inmates were able to get power tools, Cuomo said. He did not spec­ify what kind of tools the men used.

No prison-owned tools were miss­ing, of­fi­cials said. They­said the tools used may be­long to ex­ter­nal con­trac­tors who work on re­pairs at the build­ing, which­was built in1865.

Matt was serv­ing 25 years to life for mur­der, kid­nap­ping and rob­bery for ab­duct­ing a man and beat­ing him to death on Dec. 3, 1997, New York State Po­lice of­fi­cials said in a state­ment.

Sweat killed a Broome County sher­iff ’s deputy on July 4, 2002. He was sen­tenced to life with­out pa­role and had been at the Clin­ton fa­cil­ity since Oc­to­ber 2003.

More than 200 of­fi­cers from sev­eral agen­cies — in­clud­ing the FBI and U.S. Mar­shals Ser­vice — are work­ing with state po­lice to find the men.

New York State Po­lice

AU­THOR­I­TIES SAY they don’t know how Richard Matt, left, and David Sweat got their hands on power tools to es­cape the max­i­mum-se­cu­rity site.

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