By: Savannah Smith | 07-09-2017 | News
Photo credit: Printezis |

South Carolina Inmate Might Have Used Drone to Aid Daring Escape

A South Carolina inmate relied on modern means to successfully make his escape from maximum prison by using wire cutters that were apparently flown in by drone.

Officials describe the act as a new and devilishly hard-to-stop means of escape. The plot of his daring escape is one worthy of a Hollywood script. Convicted kidnapper Jimmy Causey, 46, however, was recaptured at a Texas motel before daybreak, more than two days after his daring stunt. It also marked the second time in 12 years that he managed to flee from prison.

Investigators said that Causey used a smuggled-in mobile phone to cleverly plan and coordinate the delivery of his breakout tools. Just as the dusk was approaching on the Fourth of July, he cut through four fences to flee. He used a paper mache dummy in his bed so prison guards will not notice his absence. The dummy indeed fooled the guards and as result, Causey got an 18-hour head start.

Authorities said Causey had about $47,000 in cash and two guns when he was caught. It is not clear how Causey managed to have access to such huge amount of cash.

At this point in the probe, however, the use of drones is still a working theory as South Carolina Corrections Director Bryan Stirling said they were still trying to confirm that a drone was involved in helping Causey in his escape act. Stirling said: “We believe a drone was used to fly in the tools that allowed him to escape.”

An aerial photo of the prison shows rings of tall fences and an expanse of more than 50 yards between the prison perimeter and the cellblocks, that is why it would have been difficult and even unlikely to have someone throw or catapult tools to Causey.

There are still no known records of any other U.S.prison escapes made with the aid of drones. Experts say that delivering something heavy such as a wire or bolt cutters via drone would entail a sophisticated plan and a powerful machine. The drones would have to land to deliver the tools, and can not exactly drop the tools like bombs.

Drones have been previously used, however, to deliver contraband such as drugs and cellphones across the U.S., including two cases in recent past including two cases from South Carolina also.

For now, the only viable solutions being seen to prevent more daring escapes are still the old ways: adding more watch guards and asking the federal government for help in blocking inmates’ access to cellphone signals. Prison officials are also investigating how Causey’s disappearance was left unnoticed for an 18-hour period starting from 8 p.m. until 2 p.m. the next day. It is possible that Causey got a lot of help from other people.

Stirling for his part issued a warning that escaping from his prison will not pay as they would be able to track the fugitive no matter what. He said: “If someone leaves the South Carolina Department of Corrections and tries to escape, we will hunt them down and look for them until we find them. They will not be able to sleep or close their eyes and feel comfortable that they’ve gotten away because we will not stop like you saw this week.”


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