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Escaped New York convicts possibly headed for Canada: police

David Sweat, left, and Richard Matt escaped from the maximum-security Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, New York, on Saturday. PHOTO: NEW YORK STATE POLICE HANDOUT/EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

David Sweat, left, and Richard Matt escaped from the maximum-security Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, New York, on Saturday June 6, 2015. PHOTO: NEW YORK STATE POLICE HANDOUT/EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

Two dangerous convicted killers who escaped a maximum-security New York prison three weeks ago may be on their way towards Canada and border guards are on alert, police said Friday.

Richard Matt, 49, and David Sweat, 35, used power tools to cut their way out of their cells at the Clinton Correctional Facility before dawn on June 6 in a spectacular prison break likened to a Hollywood movie.

The audacious escape sparked a huge search involving more than 1,100 personnel backed by sniffer dogs and helicopters to find the men, who have reportedly been spotted in several locations in recent days in upstate New York.

The hunt is now centered in an area about 50 miles (80 kilometers) from the prison and roughly 30 miles from the border with Canada.

“We have developed evidence in our search area that the suspects may be headed towards Canada,” Major Charles Guess of New York State Police told reporters.

“We cannot get into specifics of the evidence we have recovered while investigating this particular lead. That evidence is still being evaluated by our laboratory as part of the investigative process.

“But based on what we know at this point, we have a high degree of confidence in our conclusion.

“We can’t talk specifically because we don’t want to put information in the public that could jeopardize finding David Sweat and Richard Matt and returning them to prison where they belong.”

Two prison workers have been charged over the brazen breakout, and Matt and Sweat — whom police described as dangerous and probably armed — have left tantalizing scraps of evidence as to their whereabouts including DNA evidence.

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 in a 27-hour ordeal.

He fled to Mexico after the murder and killed another American there, before being sentenced to 20 years and extradited back to New York.

“We have no reason to believe they’re in Canada yet but our Canadian partners and partners of the customs border patrol and protection are standing up a picket line using their available resources to ensure they don’t cross the border so we’re operating under the premise that they’re still within New York state,” Guess added.

 

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