“We believe a drone was used to fly in the tools that allowed him to escape.”
A South Carolina inmate used wire cutters and other “tools” like mobile phones believed to be dropped from a drone to coordinate his escape from a maximum-security prison. The inmate wasn’t noticed missing for 18 hours, prison officials said Friday.
Jimmy Causey was arrested Friday in Austin, Texas, about 1,200 miles away from the Lieber Correctional Institution outside Charleston, authorities said. Prison officials believe the 46-year-old man (PDF), serving a life sentence for kidnapping his attorney, escaped around 8pm on July 4. The authorities had not realized the convict was gone until about 2pm the next afternoon. Causey had cut through four fences to escape.
“We 100 percent know a cellphone was used or multiple cellphones were used while he was incarcerated, and we believe a drone was used to fly in the tools that allowed him to escape,” said Bryan Stirling, director of the South Carolina Department of Corrections, according to The New York Times.
It’s not the first time drones were deployed in a bid to assist escapes or to drop drugs, porn, and cigarettes to inmates. And Stirling went on to say prisons need the federal government to grant them the authority to block mobile phone signals.
“No longer are people stopped from continuing their criminal ways from behind bars. They are physically incarcerated, but they are no longer virtually incarcerated,” Stirling said during his press conference.
South Carolina officials were still investigating the incident, which included Causey placing a dummy in his bed to fool prison guards. He was arrested around 3am at an Austin motel, where he was sleeping after the authorities received a tip.
When arrested, the authorities said he had four mobile phones, $47,654 in cash, a pistol, and a shotgun.
It’s the second time Causey escaped. In 2005, he escaped by hiding in a trash truck with another inmate. He was on the run for three days before a pizza delivery driver alerted authorities.