Two convicted murders used power tools to cut through steel and shimmied through a steam pipe to escape from a maximum-security prison near the Canadian border, leaving behind a taunting note urging authorities to “Have a nice day.”
The elaborate escape this past weekend from an upstate New York prison had hundreds of local, state and federal law enforcement officers searching through the night for one man imprisoned for killing a sheriff’s deputy and another who dismembered his boss.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Richard Matt and David Sweat staged “a really elaborate, sophisticated operation” that ended at a manhole cover blocks away from the prison — and must have been overheard by someone.
The men had filled their beds inside the Clinton Correctional Facility with clothes to appear as though they were sleeping. They left behind a note — a yellow square of paper with a smiling, bucktoothed face, along with the words, “Have a nice day.”
Roadblocks were set up in the area, which is about 20 miles from the Canadian border, and bloodhounds and helicopters were being used to track down the men, officials said.
Cuomo described the two as extremely dangerous. He asked the public to notify the police should they encounter the men. The state is offering a $100,000 reward for information leading to their capture.
Sweat, 34, is serving a sentence of life without parole after he was convicted of first-degree murder for killing a sheriff’s deputy in Broome County on July 4, 2002. Matt, 48, is serving a sentence of 25 years to life for the kidnapping, dismemberment and killing of his former boss in 1997.
The pair’s adjoining cells were empty during a morning check, said Anthony Annucci, the acting state corrections commissioner.
“A search revealed that there was a hole cut out of the back of the cell through which these inmates escaped,” Annucci said. “They went onto a catwalk, which is about six stories high. We estimate they climbed down and had power tools and were able to get out to this facility through tunnels, cutting away at several spots.”
Officials said it was the first escape from the maximum-security portion of the prison, which was built in 1865.
Read more at CBS NEWS.