Two convicted murderers who used power tools to break out of a maximum security New York prison may have had help, and they left a taunting note for their jailors to “Have a nice day,” authorities said on Sunday.
More than 200 local, state and federal law enforcement officials set up roadblocks, took to the air and went door-to-door in their search for Richard Matt, 48, and David Sweat, 34, who went missing early Saturday morning from the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, about 20 miles (30 km) south of the Canadian border..
“We are leaving no stone unturned. They could be literally anywhere,” New York State Police Major Charles Guess told a news conference.
New York is offering a $100,000 reward for information leading to the apprehension of the men it describes as dangerous and have notified law enforcement in Canada and Mexico about the fugitives.
“We presume that they may have had access to a vehicle as well as they may have had assistance in their escape effort,” Guess said.A spokesman for the Ontario Provincial Police in Canada said an alert was issued to all police agencies to be on the lookout for the escapees.
Governor Andrew Cuomo, in an interview with ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Sunday, called the escape “elaborate” and “sophisticated.”
“The first order of business is to get these killers back. This was the first breakout since 1865 and I want to make sure it’s the last,” he said.
The two men in adjoining cells drilled holes in walls to break out of them. They then went through a series of catwalks and tunnels, breaking through steel to clear prison grounds and escaping through a manhole on a nearby street, officials said.
They used clothing to make it look like they were in their beds and left a yellow note with a smiley face and the words “have a nice day” on steam pipe. Authorities have found some of the simple instruments they used but not the power tools.
Authorities do not know how they acquired the tools but were checking to see if they came from contractors working for the prison.
Matt is serving 25 years to life for kidnapping, murdering and dismembering a man.
Sweat, 34, is serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole for killing a sheriff’s deputy. Police said he shot the deputy nearly two dozen times.