Authorities continue to search for a pair of convicted killers who escaped from an upstate New York prison over the weekend in a town 40 miles away. Traffic in and out of Willsboro, New York, was halted Tuesday as heavily armed officers poured into the town. Both men, David Sweat and Richard Matt, reportedly broke into a house in Willsboro and “stole a gun,” according to a resident who spoke to the New York Daily News. Another resident, this time speaking to the Albany Times Union, said police descended on the area after someone reported seeing two men run from a gully into the woods. More than 400 corrections and other law enforcement officers are in the area and police planned to go door to door to check homes, police said in a statement Tuesday.
Matt and Sweat reportedly escaped from Clinton Correctional Facility by using a sledgehammer and an electric saw, given to them by a "female civilian employee who had developed a personal relationship with Matt and smuggled the tool into the prison," according to the Times Union. They powered the saw with an electrical cord spliced from a light fixture, cut a hole in a steam pipe that led outside, then used the sledgehammer to break out of a manhole. The escape plot was reportedly hatched from the prison's tailor shop, where the female employee worked and where the convicts made uniforms for rail workers.
Matt, 48, was serving 25 years to life for kidnapping, dismembering and killing his ex-boss in 1997. Sweat, 34, is serving a life term without parole for killing a sheriff's deputy in 2002.