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N.J. Escapees Take Page From 'Shawshank' Script (leave thank you note for guards)
WCBSTV ^ | 12/17/07

Posted on 12/17/2007 5:25:01 PM PST by Libloather

N.J. Escapees Take Page From 'Shawshank' Script
Prisoners Left Behind Thank You Note For Unsuspecting Guards

NEW YORK (CBS) - What's been the theme of successful movies like "Escape From Alcatraz" and "The Shawshank Redemption" has become an incredible, yet frightening reality at a New Jersey jail.

Razor-sharp wire, thick concrete, and jail guards couldn't keep 20-year-old Jose Espinoza, and 32-year-old Otis Blunt -- inmates barred up at the Union County Jail -- from escaping the prison over the weekend.

Officials say the pair concocted an elaborate scheme that involved digging through their cell walls, similar to Tim Robbins' method in Shawshank.

"They had a device and the device was to pick away the mortar at the concrete block, push the blocks between the two cells out so they could join each other into one cell," said Union County prosecutor Ted Romankow.

To keep the hole concealed, they covered it up for days with photos of bikini-clad women. Guards who were supposed to be checking on them every half-hour the night of the escape were fooled by dummies made from pillows placed under their sheets.

To get outside, they continued to dig through another wall before knocking out a block on an outside wall.

"At that point they climbed out onto the roof and made their exit," said Romankow.

That exit involved jumping from the roof over a 30-foot high metal fence covered in barbed wire.

On top of all of that, despite the presence of security cameras around the jail, the daring escape was not caught on tape.

Just to show their arrogance, the inmates left a note for the guards, thanking them for the tools they needed. "You're a real pal, happy holiday," they wrote, leaving a smiley face at the end.

Officials were frustrated to learn that the device the pair used to get through the walls was a valve that came from a pipe inmates used for chin-ups, something that was not authorized. The union representing the officers say the guards made an honest mistake.

In the meantime, investigators have been checking area hospitals for the pair, believing they may have injured themselves from the dangerous jump off the roof. Still, there was no sign of them at the closest hospital to the jail.

Police initiated a manhunt stretching from Elizabeth, which is Espinoza's hometown, to Tom's River, where Blunt hails from.

Authorities say both of their families are cooperating.

"There are people that do love these individuals," said Sheriff Ralph Froehlich. "Hard to imagine sometimes, but they do and they want them to give themselves up."

Espinosa is a confirmed member of the Bloods gang and pleaded guilty to manslaughter in connection with a drive-by shooting in 2005. Blunt was being held on robbery and weapons charges.

Residents were stunned to hear of the Hollywood-like escape.

"It is beyond belief because in the morning I have to send my children to school and I have sit there with fear in my heart to know what's going to happen to them," said Elizabeth resident Tyeshia Cogdell. "There's criminals on the street running loose!"

Police are warning the public to keep an eye out for the criminals.

"The one thing I would say to the public is if you run across either one of these individuals. Don't try to contact them, contact the local police department," said Romankow.

Added Froehlich: "We will find you and you're better off if you give yourself up."

TOPICS: Local News
KEYWORDS: escapees; guards; nj; shawshank
"You're a real pal, happy holiday," they wrote, leaving a smiley face at the end.

Well, at least they were nice about it...

1 posted on 12/17/2007 5:25:03 PM PST by Libloather
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To: Libloather
Added Froehlich: "We will find you and you're better off if you give yourself up."

They might want to check out Zihuatenejo in case these two decide to keep following the "Shawshank" script.
2 posted on 12/17/2007 5:30:00 PM PST by AnotherUnixGeek
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To: Libloather
The murderers (past and future) of NJ who now know that they won’t be executed will read stories like this and smile.”Life won’t necessarily mean life” a murderer might say."There’s no such thing as an escape-proof prison,and I just might get a pardon from some compassionate sucker like Corzine”......
3 posted on 12/17/2007 5:34:01 PM PST by Gay State Conservative (Wanna see how bad it can get? Elect Hillary and find out.)
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To: Libloather

Block walls are nothing to get through. As a former block layer, I firmly believe it is possible to pierce a standard 8” or 12” wall in a very short time using any sort of metal object that would provide: 1) chisel action, and 2) sufficient leverage. Any prison that doesn’t employ poured, high-strength and reinforced concrete walls is nothing more, in truth, than a juvenile detention.

4 posted on 12/17/2007 5:34:04 PM PST by WorkingClassFilth
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To: Libloather
'Andy crawled ....through five-hundred yards of sh!t smelling foulness I can't even imagine, or maybe I just don't want too. Five-Hundred yards... that's the length of five football fields, just shy of half a mile. '

I'm guessing that's pretty accurate

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

5 posted on 12/17/2007 5:41:49 PM PST by digger48
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To: digger48

I’ve just added a new keyboard to my Christmas list... this one just got ruined by coffee coming out my nose!


6 posted on 12/18/2007 7:55:55 AM PST by So Cal Rocket
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