Yesterday, authorities revealed that two convicted killers who were serving life sentences had broken out of a maximum security prison in upstate NY. It was a daring escape that involved dummies fashioned out of sweatshirts, power tools to drill through the walls, and a Post-it note taunt.
The two men—Richard Matt, 48, and David Sweat, 34—were unaccounted for during a 5:30 a.m. bed check at the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora. Police say both men are considered to be a danger to the public: "If located DO NOT approach them. Contact 911 or the New York State Police immediately at (518) 563-3761."
Gov. Andrew Cuomo skipped the Belmont Stakes to tour the prison and address the media about the complex prison break: "It was an elaborate plot," Cuomo said, as you can see in the video below. “We went back and pieced together what they did. It was elaborate. It was sophisticated. It encompassed drilling through steel walls and pipes, so this was not easily accomplished...When you look at how the operation was done, it was extraordinary."
The two men somehow procured power drills in the maximum security prison, and used them to break through the cells’ thick walls. They scaled a six-foot-high catwalk and navigated an elaborate maze of pipes into tunnels, cutting through them as needed. They finally climbed through a manhole and emerged on a nearby street outside the prison's 30-foot-walls.
They left a set of dummies stuffed with sweatshirts to fool the guards who ran checks every two hours. On one of the pipes, authorities found a Post-it note the prisoners had left, featuring a racist caricature of a man with the words, "Have a nice day!"
Sweat is serving a life sentence without parole following his conviction for first-degree murder of a Broome County sheriff's deputy in 2002. Matt is serving a sentence of 25 years to life following his conviction for kidnapping a man and beating him to death in 1997 in Niagara County. Mat had previously escaped from an Erie County jail in June 1986 (he was caught and returned to prison, where he served time for that crime and for forgery).
Cuomo added that this is the first time in the prison’s history that anyone escaped from the maximum security section of the facility. "These are dangerous people, and they are nothing to be trifled with," Cuomo said.