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In Photos: Inside the NY Prison Where Two Inmates Made a 'Shawshank'-Style Escape

Photos show how convicted murderers made daring escape from state prison. The men are still missing more than 48 hours later.
Photos via Governor Andrew Cuomo/Flickr

More than 48 hours after a pair of convicted murderers left New York prison guards a taunting Post-It note reading "Have a nice day" before disappearing down hand-cut holes in the jail's heating system, there are still no leads on the daring duo's whereabouts. And authorities are pretty pissed off about it.

New York's Governor Andrew Cuomo declared a "crisis situation" over the weekend after Richard Matt, 48, and David Sweat, 34, scaled themselves out of Clinton Correctional Facility in the village of Dannemora, New York — where both were serving life sentences — sometime before a 5:45am bed check on Saturday.


During a tour of the prison, which is called "Little Siberia" by locals, the governor's frown lines and multiple unhappy snaps said it all.

"This is a crisis situation for the state," Cuomo told reporters at a press conference at the prison, while standing next to two easels bearing giant mug shots of the escapees. The convicted killers could be anywhere in New York, across state lines, or out of the country, he said.

"The truth is we have a number of leads, but nothing that would lead us to a specific conclusion about where they are," he added.

It has been noted that if you were to replace "sewage pipe" with "heating system" and "rock hammer" with "power tools," Matt and Sweat's daring escape is remarkably similar to the one made by fictional character Andy Dufresne — played by Tim Robbins in the beloved 1994 filmThe Shawshank Redemption.

Hollywood comparisons aside, authorities are worried that the pair will likely commit more crimes, and have put a $50,000 reward information leading to the arrest of each of the criminals. Sweat was convicted for the 2002 killing of a sheriff's deputy and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Matt is serving a sentence of 25 years to life for the kidnapping, killing, and dismembering his former boss in 1997.

"These are dangerous people and they are nothing to be trifled with," Cuomo said. "They are capable of committing grave crimes once again."


Acting state Corrections Commissioner Anthony Annucci said investigators are not sure how the pair obtained the power tools used in their escape, and that when authorities inventoried prison equipment, nothing was missing. However, the tools may have been taken from outside contractors who are currently renovating the prison, which was opened in 1845, according to the Associated Press.

The men are thought to have emerged from a manhole in the village of Dannemora, where a team of searchers, including K-9 dogs, helicopters, FBI and SWAT teams began an intensive manhunt this weekend, which has extended up to the Canadian border, about 20 miles north of the prison.

"I would not put it past them whatsoever that they could have acquired an automobile or have had a rendezvous with someone on the outside," Cuomo said.

Authorities also noted the audacity of the prisoners who stuffed their bedding with effigies of themselves in hooded sweatshirts. Although unusual-looking, the lumps were apparently enough to fool security guards conducting their routine walk-through visual checks every two hours throughout the night, Cuomo said.

The yellow Post-It note reading "have a nice day" was drawn alongside a crude smiley face wearing a Chinese-style hat — likely a reference to the old (and geographically impossible) adage that anyone digging straight through the earth from the US would pop up in China.

VICE News' Gillian Mohney contributed to this report.

Photos via Governor Andrew Cuomo/Flickr