Human beings can get pretty creative when backed into a corner—or locked in a cage. While not everyone has to crawl through a river of shit to come out clean on the other side, some pretty drastic measures were taken by these 5 escape artists.
John Dillinger Escape Plan
The infamous “Public Enemy #1,” whose criminal ways led to the formation of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), was imprisoned in Crown Point, Indiana. Although the jail boasted that it was escape-proof, Dillinger was able to break free using a pistol—differing accounts claim that he carved a fake pistol out of a potato or the shelving in his cell, while others say it was a real pistol. Fake or not, three days later he was back to his old ways—robbing a bank in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
Escape from Alcatraz
The maximum high-security federal prison—located on an island off the coast of San Francisco—was known to house some of the most violent and notorious criminal in America during its time of operation (1934-1963). While 36 attempts were made, only 1 was potentially successful. Clarence Anglin, John Anglin, and Frank Morris tucked papier-mâché heads in their bunks and escaped using homemade drills from vacuum motors and a makeshift raft made out of raincoats. While it is presumed that they drowned before reaching mainland, their bodies were never found.
The real-life inspiration for Leonardo DiCaprio’s role in Catch Me if You Can, Frank Abagnale orchestrated a clever and elaborate scheme to actually cause the guards to let him out of prison. After being transported without detention commitment papers, Abagnale worked with a friend to convince the guards that he was an undercover inspector. After a few weeks of convincing, counterfeit ID cards to prove it, and a co-conspirer backing up his story, the guards let him walk out of the prison and into a car, completing the successful ruse.
In 2001, Pascal Payet—sentenced to 30 years in prison for murder—pulled a fast one by escaping by helicopter! Taking advantage of the exercise yard on the roof, Payet was picked up in a hijacked helicopter and flown to freedom. Only, it didn’t stop there; three years later, he returned in a helicopter and busted three others out of the joint. Captured in 2007, he completed the real-life action movie trilogy by escaping from a prison in southeast France by—you guessed it—helicopter.
Walk it Out
Not everyone has to break out of prison—some people can just walk out. In 1995, Matthew Williams, Andrew Roger, and Keith Rose somehow cut themselves a successful master key and used it to open a series of doors leading out of the facility. Then, they promptly cut through the fence and used a 20-foot ladder to climb the perimeter wall.