Murderers' plan to escape N.Y. prison 'sophisticated,' governor says
DANNEMORA, N.Y. — Two murderers who used power tools to escape from prison must have taken days to cut through steel walls and pipes and break through bricks, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Sunday as a $100,000 reward was offered for information leading to their capture.
Authorities were investigating how the inmates obtained the power tools they used in the “Shawshank Redemption”-style breakout over the weekend.
“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 20 miles south of the Canadian border, following up on dozens of tips.
But authorities acknowledged they did not have a good idea where the convicts could be. They may have crossed into Canada or headed to another state, Cuomo said.
“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-year-old Clinton Correctional Facility stuffed with clothes 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.”