“Have a Nice Day!” read a yellow sticky note attached to a pipe, the only trace of Richard Matt, 48, and David Sweat, 34, two convicted murderers.
The two killers who cut their way out of a maximum security prison with power tools sometime between Friday evening and Saturday morning’s “standing count” of inmates at the Clinton Correctional Facility, in Dannemora, New York.
The two convicts cut through a steel wall and then followed a series of service tunnels until they emerged from a manhole outside the prison walls.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the escape was the first on record at the facility, going on to say that “These are dangerous people,” and that they should “not be trifled with.”
More than 200 law enforcement officers are now engaged in the manhunt for the escapees.
Matt was convicted of three counts of murder, three counts of kidnapping and two counts of robbery in December 1997, after he kidnapped a man and beat him to death. He was serving a 25 years to life sentence.
Sweat was serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole after being convicted of first-degree murder in the death of a sheriff’s deputy in July 2002.
The two men tricked guards by arranging things in the bunks to look “like people were sleeping … with these sweatshirt hoodies on,” the governor said. That ploy ensured they weren’t noticed as missing until 5:30am on Saturday morning.
The men occupied side-by-side cells and somehow obtained power tools to cut through the steel wall in their cells, officials said. It remains a mystery as to how, exactly, they obtained the tools, though the facility, open since 1845, was undergoing regular maintenance at the time, which could have allowed the opportunity to steal the items.
The escapees then followed a catwalk “down an elaborate maze of pipes into tunnels and exited a series of tunnels at the manhole cover,” he said.
The governor personally toured the escape route on Saturday.
“It was elaborate, it was sophisticated,” he said. “It involved drilling through steel walls, steel pipes.”
The facility is the state’s largest prison with a population of 2,689 inmates.
Authorities continued to search for the men on Sunday morning, erected road blocks and searching cars at checkpoints in the area of the escape.