Escapee Used Wire Cutters Flown In by Drone: Officials

Illegal cellphone also played a role, authorities say
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 8, 2017 9:40 AM CDT
Drone Flew Wire Cutters to Prison Escapee: Officials
This undated photo provided by the South Carolina Department of Corrections shows Jimmy Causey.   (Uncredited)

When it came time for lights out at Lieber Correctional Institution on the evening of July Fourth, officers at the maximum-security South Carolina prison thought they had all 1,300 inmates accounted for. But convicted kidnapper Jimmy Causey wasn't in his bunk, a homemade dummy stuffed under the covers in his place. By the time prison officials realized Causey was missing, he'd already been gone for nearly a full day. Authorities gave new details of his plot following his capture early Friday after more than two days on the run, the AP reports. Aided by wire cutters that authorities believe were flown in by a drone, Causey made it out of his cell, exited the dorm and cut through a series of metal fences. Authorities haven't said if he had a getaway car waiting for him. But Causey got away, and fast. By the time officials confirmed he was gone, Causey had an 18-hour head start on law enforcement. He made it 1,200 miles to Austin, Texas, where he was captured.

When authorities nabbed Causey early Friday morning as he slept in a motel, he had a pistol, a shotgun, four cellphones and $47,000 in cash. Authorities are in the process of extraditing Causey to South Carolina, where he'll be sent to one of the prison system's most secure facilities. Officials are still probing exactly what happened leading up to and following the escape. State Corrections Director Bryan Stirling wouldn't say if staff errors contributed to Causey's escape, but he told reporters Friday that one officer would have been on duty in the area near Causey's cell around when he got out. Later Friday, Corrections officials told the AP one Lieber employee had been fired in connection with Causey's escape. CBS News reports that a smuggled-in cellphone was used by Causey to coordinate the delivery of the tools that would help him break out, which are believed to have been flown in by drone. Causey previously escaped from a different South Carolina prison in 2005, and was on the run for three days. (More escaped criminal stories.)

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