Saturday, July 08, 2017


How escape-artist inmate used wire cutters dropped from a DRONE and a dummy to break out of maximum security prison with $47K in cash for a second time

Associated Press and Snejana Farberov

Daily Mail
July 7, 2017

Prison officials in South Carolina say a serial fugitive used wire cutters and multiple cellphones that were likely dropped from a drone as part of a brazen escape plan, which also included guns, a dummy and more than $47,000 in cash.

The South Carolina Department of Corrections announced on Twitter early Friday that 46-year-old inmate Jimmy Causey was recaptured in Texas after a second escape from a maximum security prison that lasted more than two days.

Texas Rangers acting on a tip apprehended Causey at around 3am after he was found sleeping in a motel room in the Austin suburb of Cedar Park, located some 1,200 miles away from the South Carolina prison near Charleston.

Correctional authorities are now investigating how Causey's escape on Tuesday night from Lieber Correctional Institution went unnoticed for 18 hours, South Carolina Corrections Director Bryan Stirling said during a press conference Friday.

It was Causey's second escape from maximum security prisons in South Carolina since being sentenced to life in prison 13 years ago for holding a lawyer at gunpoint in his Columbia home.

Authorities have said Causey didn't feel the defense attorney did enough to keep him out of prison in the early 1990s.

The first time, Causey and another inmate hid in a garbage truck leaving prison and were arrested three days later after a woman delivering pizza to a motel called police because she thought they looked suspicious.

The second time, Causey had a meticulously orchestrated plan, coordinating his escape with a smuggled cellphone and cutting through four fences with wire cutters, likely dropped to him in the prison yard from a drone, Stirling said. Stirling didn't elaborate on why authorities believe a drone was used.

Like the first time, Causey, 46, fooled guards by putting a dummy in his bed. He escaped around 8pm on July 4, but prison officials didn't realize he was gone until 2pm the next day, Stirling said.

Stirling wouldn't talk specifically about whether guards did anything wrong that night, but did say ‘sometimes the staff just has to follow policies and procedures.’

Investigators are trying to determine how Causey procured $47,654 in cash. The station WCSC reported that he was also in possession of a semi-automatic pistol, a pump shotgun and additional ammunition, four cellphones and an ID card, State Law Enforcement Division Chief Mark Keel said.

‘Everyone who assisted him -we intend on bringing them to justice as well,’ Keel said.

Following his first capture, Causey was held in South Carolina's most secure, super-max facility in Columbia, but he was eventually returned to the system's general population.

Stirling wouldn't give details about where Causey would be held this time, except to say it will be ‘a high, high security unit.’

Causey and another inmate, convicted murderer Johnny Brewer, escaped Broad River Correctional Institution in Columbia in 2005 by hiding in a trash truck.

The pair eluded authorities for three days before being apprehended at a motel along busy Interstate 95, not far from the prison from which Causey escaped on Tuesday.

A pizza delivery driver told The Associated Press at the time she tipped off authorities when she recognized a customer as one of the two men being sought by authorities.

Both men were returned to prison.

Brewer was found two years later, hanging from a bed sheet in his cell.

Grilled by state lawmakers about how the escape happened, then-prisons director Jon Ozmint blamed budget cutbacks that had forced his department to cut 800 security positions, leaving some areas like the trash compactor and loading dock unmonitored by officers.

The director also said the men had fashioned fake heads out of toilet paper and put them in their beds, fooling officers at a 7.15am prisoner count.

After a 9.00am count came up short, officials did a roll call and realized the two were missing.

Causey, 46, was sentenced to life in prison in 2004 after he was convicted of terrorizing Columbia attorney Jack Swerling and his family in their home.

He was first incarcerated in state prison in 1992 on charges including grand larceny, according to online records.


Anonymous said...

If cell phone signals were blocked on prison grounds it would stop escapes and smuggling by staff. Simple.

bob walsh said...

Unfortunately there is a major tech and administrative hurdle to getting permission to block cellphone signals.