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June 9 2015

Escaped killers still on the loose, Governor offering $100,000 reward

UPDATE: How prisoners David Sweat and Richard Matt escaped

Escaped killers Richard Matt and David Sweat.

Escaped killers Richard Matt and David Sweat.

New York State Police

Photo:

Escaped killers Richard Matt and David Sweat.

Escaped killers Richard Matt and David Sweat.

New York State Police

Photo:

More details on how David Sweat and Richard Matt escaped Clinton Correctional Facility have emerged and the story is something straight out of Hollywood. 

Both Matt and Sweat were reportedly privileged prisoners in what’s been described as the prison’s “honor block,” a collection of inmates with more liberties such as visiting other prison cells and cooking. 

The New York Daily News reports (using an unnamed source) that the duo plotted their escape while sewing Metro-North Uniforms in the prison tailor shop. The New York Daily News is the only news outlet who reports this detail.

Prison officials are reportedly interviewing all those employed by the prison to find out who exactly helped Sweat and Matt escape. 

Albany's The TImes Union reports that Sweat and David acquired power tools, that were used for their escape, from “a female civilian employee who had developed a personal relationship with Matt and smuggled the tool into the prison.” 

Using a pair of decoys to fool guards during bed checks, the pair climbed through the man-sized holes in their walls and made their way through a grand labyrinth of catwalks, pipes and tunnels before eventually emerging from a manhole far away from the prison. 

The state is offering a reward for the capture of two prisoners who escaped a maximum security prison in upstate New York on Saturday morning

More than 24 hours after their escape from a maximum security prison in New York was noticed, two convicted killers are still on the loose.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said this afternoon he is offering a $100,000 reward for information that leads to their capture, but reiterated that the men are dangerous and should not be approached.

"These are killers. They are murderers. They are now on the loose," he said during a press conference.

He told reporters that though it is unusual, the state would offer $50,000 per prisoner for useful information.

"We feel that it is appropriate," said Cuomo.

The two men  — Richard Matt, 48, and David Sweat, 34 — escaped at some point early Saturday morning from the maximum security section of a prison, the Clinton Correction Facility in Dannemora in upstate New York.

Their absence was noticed during a bed check of prisoners at 5.30 a.m. Though guards routinely patrol the cells every two hours, Matt and Sweat used sweatshirts to create decoys which deceived the guards until the bed check.

They drilled through steel walls and pipes, scaled a six-foot high wall and then emerged outside the facility's 30-foot external wall via a manhole.

Authorities said they were still investigating how the inmates were able to access the power tools they needed to execute their plan.

On Saturday, Cuomo was given a tour of the pair's escape route from the prison.

"We went back and pieced together what they did. It was elaborate. It was sophisticated. It encompassed drilling through steel walls and steel pipes. So this was not easily accomplished. The Commissioner of Corrections is going to undertake a full investigation," he said during a press conference.

After their escape was discovered, the prison was placed on lockdown. More than 200 law enforcement officers are on the hunt for the men, including canine officers and helicopters.

State police said that Sweat was serving a life sentence on one count of first-degree murder after killing a Broome County Sheriff's Deputy on July 4, 2002.

Matt was serving a sentence of 25 years to life after being convicted on three counts of murder, three counts of kidnapping and two counts of robbery. He kidnapped a victim and beat him to death on December 3, 1997, police said.

"Anyone in the Dannemora area should contact the New York State Police if they saw or heard anything early this morning, or find that they have a vehicle which is unaccounted for," said Maj. Charles E. Guess of the New York State Police, in a statement.

Officials said Matt is a 6-foot-tall white male, about 210 pounds, with black hair and hazel eyes. He has a tattoo on his back that reads "Mexico Forever," a tattoo of a  heart on his chest and left shoulder, and a Marine Corps insignia on his right shoulder.

Sweat is 5-feet-11-inches tall, about 165 pounds, and has brown hair and green eyes. He has unspecified tattoos on his left bicep and right hand.

State police also stressed that both are considered to be a danger to the public. The public is advised not to approach them. If they are spotted, or with any leads, contact 911 or the New York State Police immediately at (518) 563-3761.

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