A South Carolina inmate broke out of a maximum-security prison using wire cutters apparently flown in by drone, what the Associated Press calls “a new and devilishly hard-to-stop means of escape.” Kidnapper Jimmy Causey, 46, was recaptured at a Texas motel before daybreak, more than two days after bolting to freedom in a plot worthy of a Hollywood script. It was the second time in 12 years that he escaped. This time, he used a smuggled-in cellphone to coordinate the delivery of the breakout tools, investigators said. With dusk approaching on July 4, he cut through four fences and left a dummy in his bed that fooled his guards. He got an 18-hour head start.
When he was caught, he had $47,000 in cash, an ID card and two guns, authorities said. “We believe a drone was used to fly in the tools that allowed him to escape,” said South Carolina Corrections Director Bryan Stirling. There is an expanse of more than 50 yards between the prison perimeter and the cellblocks, making it unlikely someone could have thrown or catapulted tools to him. Kevin Tamez, who consults on prison security as managing partner of the New Jersey-based MPM Group, wasn’t aware of any other U.S. prison escapes aided by drones. He said that delivering something heavy such as wire or bolt cutters via drone would require a sophisticated plan and a powerful machine. Tamez said there is no easy way for prisons to protect against the use of small, unmanned aircraft, other than hiring more guards to watch the fences.