What do you get when you take thousands of guys, give them tons of free time, creativity and a healthy portion of desperation? Some freaking awesome prison escapes.
Some of these were badass enough to have had movies made about them, but all of them made Andy from The Shawshank Redemption look like a lazy pile of shit.
Even with the Geneva Conventions basically turning Salag Luft III into the World War 2 prison equivalent of the Ritz-Carlton, British inmate Roger Bushell felt he had some escaping to do. He and 49 other prisoners devised a plan to dig three tunnels -- codenamed Tom, Dick and Harry -- out of a prison that was specifically designed to piss off tunnelers with its loose yellow subsoil and, in a huge dick move, seismograph microphones buried along the fences. If a shovel made even the slightest vibration the plan was shot, leaving the prisoners to fall back on their untested "It was Sandworms" alibi.
Not as uncommon an alibi as you'd think.
The team found brilliant ways to nullify every problem that popped up:
*The team dug 30 foot deep holes to evade the microphones;
*For faster tunnel traveling, they created a railway system;
*They built what were, essentially, Christmas tree lights that plugged into the camp's grid;
*The crafty escapees even constructed a tunnel ventilation system composed of nearly every piece of junk lying in your garage: bed parts, hockey sticks, ping-pong paddles, knapsacks and flattened tin cans of powdered milk with the ends removed.
When rumors swirled that some of the prisoners may be moved to another prison, they picked up the pace which, finally, caught the attention of the guards who soon discovered the "Tom" tunnel. Just before the completion of Harry, some of the diggers were, indeed, sent off to a newer, Nazier prison and never got the chance to escape.
But the rest started crawling through the tunnels on a moonless March night in 1944. They got 76 men through before, finally, when the 77th inmate gophered his way out someone realized an escape was going down.
The Nazi guards later took count of all of the missing supplies that were used in the escape: 4,000 bed boards, the complete disappearance of 90 beds, 52 tables, 34 chairs, 10 single tables, 76 benches, 1,219 knives, 478 spoons, 582 forks, 69 lamps, 246 water cans, 30 shovels, 1,000 feet of electric wire, 600 feet of rope, 3,424 towels, 1,700 blankets and more than 1,400 milk cans.
"Do you guys ever think it's weird that we've only got, like, three beds in this whole prison?"
Keep in mind they were able to get all of this stuff while in a Nazi prison camp. Think about that the next time you find yourself bartering like a nomadic goat herder just to get a couple of ballpoints from your office supply manager. Virtually all of the escapees were caught and either killed or re-imprisoned, but we still like to think this was the point the Nazis realized they could not win a war against an army full of MacGyvers.
After killing an armored truck driver, Pascal Payet was arrested and sentenced to a 30-year stint in France's Luynes prison. But Luynes prison had one major flaw in its design that Payet knew how to exploit: it had a sky over it.
By 2001, Payet was probably up to his cheeks in prison rape so he decided to leave... via helicopter that some buddies of his hijacked. Sadly, the details of this glorious break out are scant but we're assuming it involved him leaping in slow motion and grabbing onto the skids of the helicopter in midair.
"And, now, could you point me in the direction he took the helicopter, officer?"
After roaming free for a couple of years, Payet must have figured that if dropping a helicopter into a prison worked once, why wouldn't it work again? In 2003, he hopped in a helicopter, flew back to Luynes prison and busted out three inmates. These men were friends of his, but we're pretty sure he was just having one of those moments where you do something so cool you have to do it again just to make sure.
After breaking out his buddies, Payet was captured and given an additional seven years on his sentence. This time he wasn't placed in just one big-house, but was moved to a different prison every three months or so in a sad attempt to make the process helicopter proof. It remained that way until July of 2007, when a helicopter carrying four masked men landed on the roof of Grasse prison in Southeast France during the start of the night shift.
"Holy shit I can't believe how easy this is."
The men broke Payet out of his isolation ward and flew off him off into the sunset. And just to prove that he knows a thing or two about symbolism, this break-out occurred on Bastille Day, a French holiday that commemorates the storming of a prison. Payet, you glorious son of a bitch...
What is more powerful than the love of a mother? And it's even more powerful when a mother uses a big rig truck to mow down your chest cavity and ram their love directly into your heart.
Jay Junior Sigler, an inmate in his eighth year of a 20-year sentence for armed robbery at Everglades Correctional Institution, started out his day just like any other:
11:28 AM: Walk off threat of aggressive anal penetration.
2:03 PM: Artfully dodge a shanking.
2:58 PM: Receive aggressive anal penetration.
3:00 PM: A visit from Mom and some friends.
But unlike most Plexiglas and wired phone visits from loved ones, this one went a bit differently. In broad daylight an 18-wheel truck driven by Sigler's friend, John Beaston (who was accompanied by Christopher Michelson and Kelly Mitchell), rammed though not just one, but four prison fences, immediately followed by a Cutlass Supreme driven by none other then mommy dearest herself, Sandra Sigler.
"The parking lot was full"
When Jay, who was in the courtyard, reached the car, Beaston tossed him a shotgun and together they fired at the oncoming guards. Jay and everyone from the truck jumped into Mrs. Sigler's Cutlass like kids after Karate practice and hightailed it out of there.
They then made a pit stop at local mall and swapped vehicles; Jay and Michelson in one car, Mama Sigler, Beaston and Mitchell in another. Jay and Michelson had made it all the way to Pompano Beach, some 40 miles away from the prison, when they realized they were being followed. In a desperate attempt to flee, they sped into an alley and burst out the other side just in time to blow by a stop sign and slam into an oncoming vehicle, killing the 55-year-old driver.
Michelson, who had recently been released from prison himself, was brought in on charges of first-degree murder along with Sigler. As for Mother Sigler, she and her car mates were arrested at a gas station a few miles from the prison shortly after the car swap. Just goes to show that, holiday or not, a visiting parent will inevitably fuck up your day.
"By all accounts the mother masterminded everything," said Miami-Dade detective Rudy Espinosa. This didn't turn out to be entirely correct as Jay Sigler had actually conceived of the plan some four months earlier. Mama Sigler just handled the small, intricate details of the escape like, for instance, ramming a huge fucking truck through four prison gates.