Two convicted murderers scrawled a short message on a Post-it Note before escaping a maximum-security prison, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said Saturday, as authorities continued to search for the men and announced a $100,000 reward for information leading to their capture.
A Post-it Note with the words “Have a nice day” and a smiley face was left on a pipe that officials say Richard Matt and David Sweat cut open when they fled the Clinton Correctional Facility, about 25 miles south of the Canadian border, either late Friday or early Saturday, NBC News reports. New York State Police say the escapees are a danger to the public and should not be approached.
In a news conference Sunday afternoon, Major Charles Guess said 150 leads had already been received and that authorities in Mexico had been alerted as a precaution. “We’re leaving no stone unturned … They could literally be anywhere,” he added, noting it was a possibility the two may have gotten access to a vehicle. “They will be found and apprehended.”
Cuomo, who called the escape “an extraordinary act” that involved using power tools and winding through tunnels to leave through a manhole, said there had not been one from the facility since it opened in 1865. Cuomo told ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Sunday that the escape was “a really elaborate, sophisticated operation” involving the men shimmying through a steam pipe: “They were heard, they had to be heard.”
Sweat, 48, had been convicted in the July 2002 murder of Kevin Tarsia, a sheriff’s deputy, and was serving a life sentence with a chance of parole. Matt, 48, was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison after being convicted of kidnapping, robbery and murder in a man’s 1997 death.
Steven Tarsia, the brother of deputy Kevin Tarsia, told the Associated Press on Sunday that learning of the escape “turns your world upside-down all over again.”