Smuggled Electrical Saw May Have Set Prisoners Free

Police converge on small town of Willsboro, NY, after possible sighting
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 9, 2015 5:06 PM CDT
Smuggled Electrical Saw May Have Set Prisoners Free
A law enforcement agent looks through a sniper scope while another in camouflage assembles a weapon during a search for the escaped prisoners Tuesday.   (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Authorities are swarming the small upstate New York town of Willsboro to find the two convicted killers who escaped from prison last week, reports the Wall Street Journal. A motorist spotted two men walking on a "very rural" road last night, and they took off into the fields when he stopped, say police. Willsboro is about 35 miles from where Richard Matt and David Sweat busted out of the Clinton Correctional Facility. More details are filling in on the great escape, too. The leading theory is that a female employee of the prison who worked with the two men in its tailor shop smuggled in a small electrical saw and perhaps other tools such as a sledgehammer, reports the Albany Times Union. The woman also may have provided access to a cell phone after striking up a relationship with Matt.

The men reportedly used the saw to cut holes in the metal walls of their cells, and the holes "led to a cavernous utility bowel inside the prison where the men spliced an electrical cord into a light fixture to power the saw they then used to cut a large hole in a 24-inch steam pipe that led to a sewer outside the prison," the Albany paper reports. The final barrier to freedom was a lock on the inside of a manhole cover, which they bashed with a sledgehammer. Authorities say the woman or someone else might have had second thoughts and scrapped a plan to pick them up Friday night. This is Matt's third escape attempt, his son tells the Buffalo News. The first was from a prison near Buffalo in 1986 (he climbed a wall and remained free for five days) and the second was in 1997 after he got captured in Mexico. “He said he made it up to the roof of the prison and got shot in the shoulder," says his son, who adds that his father has a "genius IQ." (More prisoners stories.)

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