Entries Tagged "prison escapes"

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Prison Break

Details:

Police said Espinosa and Blunt were in adjacent cells and used a long metal wire to scrape away mortar around the cinder block between their cells and the outer wall in Espinosa’s cell.

Once the cement block between the cells was removed, they smashed the block and hid the pieces in a footlocker. According to police, Blunt, who is 5 feet 10 inches and weighs 210 pounds, squeezed into Espinosa’s cell through an approximately 16- to 18-inch hole.

The two inmates wiggled through another 18-inch hole in the outer wall. From a roof landing, the two men “took a running jump or they were standing and they jumped approximately 15 feet out and about 30 feet down,” Romankow said.

Then they jumped a razor-wire fence onto a New Jersey transit railroad bed to freedom, police said. Authorities found two sets of footprints in the snow heading in opposite directions.

[…]

To delay discovery of the escape, Espinosa and Blunt used dummies made of sheets and pillows in their beds. They also hung photographs of bikini-clad women to hide the holes in the walls, a move reminiscent of a scene in the Hollywood hit “The Shawshank Redemption.”

Posted on December 19, 2007 at 5:10 AMView Comments

Interesting Twist on Identity Theft

Okay, this is clever.

Basically, someone arrested as a homicide suspect walked out of jail after identifying himself as someone else. The biometric system worked, but human error overrode it:

But Sauceda’s fingerprints, taken by a jail employee to verify his identity, were smudged and couldn’t be matched to those on file for Garcia, said Brian Menges, director of jail administration.

So Sauceda was taken for an additional fingerprint check using the jail’s Live Scan technology. Menges said Saucedo’s Live Scan fingerprints were never compared to those on record for Garcia.

It’s a neat scam. Find out someone else who’s been arrested, have a friend come and post bail for that person, and then steal his identity when the jailers come into the cellblock.

Posted on November 2, 2007 at 12:25 PMView Comments

200-Meter Tunnel Discovered in Sri Lankan Prison

Wow:

In a startling discovery, officials of the Kalutara Prison on Horana Road have found a tunnel nearly 200 metres long and eight feet below the prison ground leading to the Kalu Ganga complete with electricity and light bulbs, dug by LTTE suspects in custody over a period of one year.

The tunnel was uncompleted. And the article fails to answer the most important question about this sort of thing: What did they do with the dirt?

“We also suspect that they would have daubed their bodies with soil and had later washed it away to prevent detection of their clandestine project,” the official said.

I don’t see that method being able to dispose of 200 meters worth of dirt over the course of a year, even assuming a small tunnel.

Posted on October 5, 2007 at 1:47 PMView Comments

Social Engineering a Police Officer

Really nice social engineering example. Note his repeated efforts to ensure that if he’s stopped again, he can rely on the cop to vouch for him.

Smooth-talking escapee evades police

Woe is Carl Bordelon, a police officer for the town of Ball, La. His dashboard camera captured (below) his questioning of Richard Lee McNair, 47, on Wednesday. Earlier that same day, McNair had escaped from a federal penitentiary at nearby Pollock, La., reportedly hiding in a prison warehouse and sneaking out in a mail van. Bordelon, on the lookout, stopped McNair when he saw him running along some railroad tracks. What follows is a chillingly fascinating performance from McNair, who manages to remain fairly smooth and matter-of-fact while tripping up Bordelon. The officer notices that the guy matches the description of McNair — who was serving a life sentence for killing a trucker at a grain elevator in Minot, N.D., in 1987 — observes that he looked like he’d “been through a briar patch” and had to wonder why he would choose appalling heat (at least according to that temperature gauge in the police car) to go running, without any identification, on a dubious 12-mile run. But he doesn’t notice when McNair changes his story — he gives two different names (listen for it) — and eventually, Bordelon bids him farewell, saying: “Be careful, buddy.” McNair remains on the loose. (Note: Video is more than eight minutes long but worth it.)

Posted on April 13, 2006 at 7:03 AMView Comments

Electronic Shackles and Telephone Communications

The article is in Hebrew, but the security story is funny in any language.

It’s about a prisoner who was forced to wear an electronic shackle to monitor that he did not violate his home arrest. The shackle is pretty simple: if the suspect leaves the defined detention area, the electronic shackle signals through the telephone line to the local police.

How do you defeat a system such as this? Just stop paying your phone bill and wait for the phone company to shut off service.

Posted on December 21, 2005 at 12:03 PMView Comments

Prisons and Guards

This Iowa prison break illustrates an important security principle:

State Sen. Gene Fraise said he was told by prison officials that the inmates somehow got around a wire that is supposed to activate an alarm when touched. The wall also had razor wire, he said.

“The only thing I know for sure is they went over the wall in the southwest corner with a rope and a grappling hook they fashioned out of metal from somewhere,” Fraise said.

Fred Scaletta, a Corrections Department spokesman, said the inmates used upholstery webbing, a material used by inmates who make furniture at a shop inside the prison, to scale the wall. The guard tower in that section of the prison was unmanned at the time because of budget cuts, he said.

“I don’t want to say I told you so, but those towers were put there for security, and when you don’t man those towers, that puts a hole in your security,” Fraise said.

Guards = dynamic security. Tripwires = static security. Dynamic security is better than static security.

Unfortunately, some people simply don’t understand the fundamentals of security:

State Rep. Lance Horbach, a Republican, criticized Fraise for suggesting budget cuts were a factor in the escape.

“In reality, we should explore why the taut wire system failed to alert guards and security staff that these two convicts were attempting to escape,” he said.

Actually, in reality you should be putting guards in the guard towers.

Posted on November 18, 2005 at 3:34 PMView Comments

Hacking Faxes

Prisoner is freed from jail based on a forged fax:

In West Memphis District Court yesterday, Tristian Wilson was set to appear on the docket for a bond hearing on the charges. When he did not appear, Judge William “Pal” Rainey inquired about his release and found that a jail staff member released Wilson by the authority of a fax sent to the jail late Saturday night.

According to Assistant Chief Mike Allen, a fax was sent to the jail which stated “Upon decision between Judge Rainey and the West Memphis Police Department CID Division Tristian Wilson is to be released immediately on this date of October 30, 2004 with a waiver of all fines, bonds and settlements per Judge Rainey and Detective McDugle.”

Jail Administrator Mickey Thornton said that these faxes are part of a normal routine for the jail when it comes to releasing prisoners, however, this fax was different.

Faxes are fascinating. They’re treated like original documents, but lack any of the authentication mechanisms that we’ve developed for original documents: letterheads, watermarks, signatures. Most of the time there’s no problem, but sometimes you can exploit people’s innate trust in faxes to good effect.

Posted on November 8, 2004 at 7:12 AMView Comments

Sidebar photo of Bruce Schneier by Joe MacInnis.