New York: Police backed by K-9 units and helicopters staged a manhunt Sunday for two convicted murderers who escaped from New York state´s biggest maximum security prison by cutting through cell walls with power tools and escaping along tunnels.
Richard Matt, 48, and David Sweat, 34, pulled off the worthy-of-a-movie breakout from the all-male Clinton Correctional Facility in the small town of Dannemora sometime between Friday night and early Saturday.
Police said the discovery was made during a pre-dawn bed check and warned the duo should be considered dangerous.
The inmates reportedly left a taunting note behind on a yellow Post-it saying: “Have A Nice Day.”
The pair, who lived in adjoining cells, used power tools to drill through walls and pipes and left behind sweatshirts and other clothing in their beds as decoys to make it appear they were still in their cells, officials said.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo toured the men´s route took to freedom, posting images on Twitter of the path the men were believed to have cut to escape.
He later announced a $100,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the fugitives.
Cuomo said the noise of the power tools could not have gone unnoticed.
“They were heard. They had to be heard,” Cuomo told ABC News.
Investigators are probing more than 150 leads and have recovered some cutting tools but not sophisticated ones, Major Charles Guess of the New York State Police told a news conference.
As approximately 36 hours have now gone by since the breakout, and the fugitives may have had access to a car and outside assistance, “they could be literally anywhere,” Guess said.
“We are leaving no stone unturned,” he said, adding “they will be found and apprehended.”
Overnight Saturday, police with bulletproof vests and rifles manned roadblocks on routes leading into and out of Dannemora, a village of some 1,700 people located 170 miles (270 km) north of the state capital Albany, near the Canadian border.
No one had previously escaped from the maximum security portion of the prison, which the Village of Dannemora says opened in 1845.
“These are two dangerous individuals, one was incarcerated for killing a sheriff, so these are dangerous people,” said Cuomo, who canceled a scheduled appearance at the Belmont Stakes horse race Saturday to travel to the prison.
“And they are nothing to be trifled with.”