- Robert Desnos
Prison breaks have inspired countless Hollywood blockbusters for years. But some of the craziest works of fiction were inspired by true events. Take a look beyond the mugshot of some of the most notorious criminals in the world.
On June 11, 1962, three prisoners escaped from the federal prison, Alcatraz. Frank Lee Morris, and brothers John and Clarence Anglin dug a tunnel in their cell walls over the course of a year using makeshift tools, even using a spoon. They then sculpted dummy heads out of soap, toilet paper and real hair, which they left in their beds to trick officers when making their nightly rounds. The FBI referred to the escape plan as “ingenious”, though it was also concluded that the criminals must have drowned in the San Francisco Bay.
Catching A Con-Artist
Frank Abagnale escaped from the Federal Detention Center in Atlanta, Georgia in 1971 by posing as a spy. Abagnale managed to convince prison guards that he was an undercover prison inspector posing as an inmate. He simply walked out of prison and for two months he evaded the authorities. Today Abagnale works for the FBI as a fraud expert. The movie “Catch Me If You Can” was inspired by Abagnale’s story.
19 Year Old Killer On The Loose
In September of 2014, T.J. Lane was sentenced to three life sentences at just 19 years old. In 2012, Lane killed three of his classmates in a school shooting. He escaped with two other inmates by making a makeshift ladder to climb on top of the building. All three of the prisoners were caught nine hours later.
Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman is a Mexican drug lord and leader of the Sinaloa Cartel. He is known as the most powerful drug trafficker in the world and is the stuff of Mexican legend for his long-time evasion of authorities. El Chapo infamously fled prison through a mile long tunnel. As Mexico’s most-wanted man, they launched a massive manhunt going as far as grounding flights and making roadblocks. He is now behind bars.
The Texas 7
On December 13, 2000, seven prisoners pulled off the biggest prison break in Texas history. George Rivas was serving 18 consecutive life sentences for burglary and kidnapping when he led fellow inmates out of the maximum security prison John B. Connally Unit. They overpowered the guards, stole their clothes and car keys, and locked them in a closet. The Texas 7 were eventually captured, but not before one of the prisoners killed himself. Rivas and two others were executed.
Enemy No. 1
John Dillinger, public enemy number 1, was a bank robber and murderer. He was arrested and brought to Lake County Jail in Crown Point, Indiana, which was an “escape-proof” prison. On March 3, 1934, Dillinger forced his way out of the prison using a fake gun he carved out of wood and blackened with shoe polish. Dillinger took off in the sheriff’s brand new Ford. FBI agents shot Dillinger later that year.