Inmates get creative making tools, weapons behind bars
December 19, 2012 (CHICAGO) (WLS) -- For an inmate, boredom mixed with desperation is the recipe for ingenuity. Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart oversees nearly 10,000 inmates who continue to impress him with the creativity.
An outlet wall plate, chunks of flooring, fabric, metal- almost anything can be used as a weapon or an escape tool.
"They're very creative, not necessarily because they're the smartest guys in the world but because when you have 24 hours a day with not a lot to do but sit on your butt in your cell, you start to think through all these things," Dart said.
Tuesday's harrowing high-rise jail escape included a rope made out bed sheets and a harness fashioned from a restraining strap. It also appears as though the men used some sort of tool to chisel away at the concrete wall surrounding their narrow window.
While there hasn't been a successful escape from behind the wall on Dart's watch, just before he took over men were sneaking out in laundry carts, going over the fence, and, in the most notorious case, grabbing a guard's uniform from an open locker and walking out the front door.
"I felt I was not running from the law but running from God. Nothing was working out," Randy Rencher, escaped inmate, said in 2006.
In 2006, Rencher spoke with ABC7's Ben Bradley inside the same federal lock-up from which two inmates escaped Tuesday.
Rencher said life on the run included sleeping in a cemetery, robbing a bank, and travelling to the Gulf Coast. After four months on the run, Rencher said the public led him to turn himself in.
"They had ideas I was carrying massive amounts of money, buried money. It was ridiculous but everywhere I looked I felt I was threatened," Rencher said in 2006.
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