A massive manhunt for two escaped prisoners from a maximum security facility dubbed ‘little Siberia’ has generated more than 300 leads, according to NY State Police.
Richard Matt, 48, and David Sweat, 34, staged “a really elaborate, sophisticated operation” Saturday that ended at a manhole cover blocks away from the prison.
“They will do whatever they need to do to escape capture,” said Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
He spoke with Good Day New York on Monday about the two convicted murderers who escaped from the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora.
The pair had to have been overheard by someone while they were planning the “elaborate” plot, said Cuomo.
Investigators are looking into whether civilian employees or private contractors helped.
The men had filled their beds inside the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora 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.
New York state is offering a $100,000 reward for information that leads to the capture of the two convicts. Anyone who spots the men is encouraged to call 911, local police or 1-800-GIVE-TIP.
Tips can also be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org
The unusual step is “appropriate” for the situation, said Cuomo.
The two men’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.
Sweat is serving a sentence of life without parole after he was convicted of first-degree murder for killing a Broome County sheriff’s deputy in 2002. Matt is serving a sentence of 25 years to life for kidnapping a man and beating him to death in 1997.
The two men were unaccounted for during morning bed check, state police said.
Sweat is a 5-foot-11 white male with brown hair and green eyes, weighing 165 pounds, police said. He has tattoos on his left bicep and his right fingers.
Matt is a 6-foot white male with black hair and hazel eyes, according to police. He weighs 210 pounds and has tattoos including “Mexico Forever” on his back, a heart on his chest and left shoulder and a Marine Corps insignia on his right shoulder.
“It was elaborate. It was sophisticated. It encompassed drilling through steel walls and steel pipes” said Cuomo at a press conference.
No word how the pair got the power tools to pull off the escape.
State police say both men are considered dangerous and should not be approached.