NEW YORK, USA – New York state police were investigating Saturday possible sightings of two killers who escaped a maximum-security jail two weeks ago in an elaborate prison break that was likened to a Hollywood movie.
Police said they were expanding the hunt, which appeared to be closing on Richard Matt, 49, and David Sweat, 35, who have been described as dangerous and told the public not to approach them.
The first possible sighting of the duo was in Steuben County, about 300 miles (480 kilometers) south of the prison they escaped from, sparking a huge search involving police, the FBI, dogs and aircraft.
“The state police in Steuben County are currently following up leads of a possible sighting of the two escaped inmates from the Clinton County Correctional Facility in Dannemora, NY,” Major Craig Hanesworth said in a statement.
“David Sweat and Richard Matt escaped June 6th and are still on the run. Troopers and investigators are searching the area of a construction site in the town of Erwin.”
Police were also investigating a possible sighting in tiny Friendship, in a rural area about an hour from the city of Buffalo, also New York state, WIVB television reported.
Reporters were asked to clear a “hot area,” WIVB reported.
Joyce Mitchell, who worked in the tailor shop at the prison in the village of Dannemora, is in custody charged with facilitating the escape, which saw the duo use hacksaw blades to bust out of their cells before crawling along pipes and out into freedom via a manhole cover.
“The New York state police today announce that the search for escaped inmates Richard Matt and David Sweat will continue to expand and shift to other areas surrounding Dannemora,” said Major Charles Guess, also of New York state police.
Matt, six feet (1.83 meters) tall with multiple tattoos, was serving a sentence of 25 years to life for the 1997 kidnapping and dismembering of his former boss.
He fled to Mexico after the murder and killed another American there, before being sentenced to 20 years and extradited back to New York.
Sweat was serving a life sentence without parole for murdering a sheriff’s deputy in New York state in 2002 when he was 22.
US Marshals on Thursday added the convicts to a 15 most-wanted list of “the worst of the worst” fugitives. – Rappler.com