5. Pascal Payet: escaped from jail using a helicopter three times!
Pascal Payet, AKA Kalashnikov Pat, was originally jailed for a murder occurred during a botched robbery on a security van, and was sentenced in 2001 to thirty years, yet managed to escape three times by helicopter! The last time, in July 2007, a hijacked Squirrel helicopter –along with its pilot, from the glamorous resort of Cannes half an hour earlier– landed on the penitentiary’s roof, from where three heavily armed men set off in search of Payet. He was lifted off the roof by the masked accomplices. After landing near the Mediterranean Sea, the pilot was released, and Payet and his accomplices have since disappeared.
4. John Dillinger: escaped from jail using a fake gun made of wood and shoe polish
A bank robber in America’s Midwest during the early 1930s, John Dillinger, had robbed at least two dozen banks and four police stations and escaped from jail twice. He served for some time at the Indiana State Penitentiary at Michigan City, until 1933, when he was paroled. Within four months, he was back in jail in Lima, Ohio, but the gang sprang him, killing the jailer, Sheriff Jessie Sarber. Most of the gang was captured again by the end of the year in Tucson, Arizona, due to a fire at the Historic Hotel Congress. Dillinger alone was sent to the Lake County jail in Crown Point, Indiana. He was to face trial for the suspected killing of police officer William O’Malley during a bank shootout in East Chicago, Indiana, some time after his escape from jail.
On March 3, 1934, Dillinger escaped from the “escape-proof” (as it was dubbed by local authorities at the time) Crown Point, Indiana county jail, which was guarded by many police officers and national guardsmen. Newspapers reported that Dillinger had escaped using a fake gun made out of wood blackened with shoe polish. With his fake gun he was able to trick a guard into opening his cell. He then took two men hostages, rounded up all the guards in jail, locked them in his cell, and fled.
3. Alfie Hinds: escaped from jail three times, one of them by locking the guards in the bathroom
Alfie Hinds was a British man who managed to escape the law over and over again – a total of three escapes. Four if you count his final, legal escape. Hinds came by his thievery honestly – his dad actually died while being punished for armed robbery. In 1953, he was arrested for a major jewelry robbery – $90,000 worth of which was never recovered. Although pleading not guilty, he was convicted and sentenced to 12 years imprisonment. Somehow he escaped through locked doors and over a 20-foot prison wall. The public started calling him “Houdini” Hinds.
He made an honest living as a builder and decorator across Europe until 1956, when Scotland Yard detectives tracked him down and arrested him again after 248 days as a fugitive. After his arrest, Hinds brought a lawsuit against authorities charging the prison commissioners with illegal arrest and successfully used the incident as a means to plan his next escape at the Law Court. When two guards escorted him to the bathroom and removed his handcuffs so he could take care of business, Alfie shoved them into the stall and locked them with a padlock (accomplices had installed screw eyes onto the door so he could do this). He was captured at the airport only a few hours later.
His third escape was from his Chelmsford Prison. He then returned to Ireland where he lived and worked as a used car dealer for two years. His downfall came once again when he was pulled over for being in an unregistered car. This time, he used his smarts to find a loophole in the law – at the time, prison escapes were not considered misdemeanors, so no time was added onto his original sentence. He finished out the six years from his jewelry theft sentence in 1953, won a libel suit against the arresting officer, and spent the rest of his life as a minor celebrity after selling his life story to the News of the World for a reported $40,000.
2. Julien Chautard: escaped from prison by clinging to the underside of the van that had just brought him there
In 2009 French-born arsonist Julien Chautard pulled an audacious escape in which he succeeded in slipping away from a group of new arrivals at Pentonville prison in north London. As the other prisoners were being marched inside, Chautard managed to duck behind the prison van that had just brought them there from Snaresbrook crown court (where ¬Chautard, 39, had been sent down for seven years). Chautard then succeeded in leaving the jail a few minutes later clinging to the underside of the same van. He later handed himself into police.
1. Frank Morris and Clarence and John Anglin: the only prisoners who may have escaped from Alcatraz
During its 29 years of operation, the penitentiary claimed no prisoners had ever successfully escaped. 36 prisoners were involved in 14 attempts, two men trying twice; 23 were caught, six were shot and killed during their escape, and three were lost at sea and never found, although their bodies were never found.
But on June 11, 1962, Frank Morris and John and Clarence Anglin successfully carried out one of the most intricate escapes ever devised. Morris and the Anglins climbed up the ventilation shaft through one of the chimneys and reached the top of the roof. The trio then climbed down the rooftop and paddled away on rubber rafts. The next morning police searched for the escapees on Alcatraz without success.
The acting warden said they put dummy heads – made of a mixture of soap, toilet paper and real hair – in their beds to fool prison officers making night-time inspections. Morris and the Anglin brothers subsequently disappeared without trace and are still wanted by the FBI, although they are believed to have drowned in the San Francisco Bay while attempting to leave the island.