A convicted kidnaper who has escaped nine times from prisons and jails around the country was being hunted by authorities Saturday after cutting through the bars of his cell and scaling two fences at the federal penitentiary in Lompoc, authorities said.
Russell Hamilton, 34, who was serving a 90-year term, was being sought by about 250 officers from the prison and Santa Barbara Sheriff's Department. Authorities used four helicopters and five canine search squads as they groped through fog that blanketed the rugged terrain surrounding the prison.
Using a tool made in the prison's cable factory, where he worked, Hamilton cut the bars to his cell and fled through the compound with cellmate Harmut Graewe, 46. The pair used a makeshift, plastic tube ladder to climb one of two security fences before setting off a detection device about 3:40 a.m., penitentiary spokesman Todd Craig said.
Graewe was captured as the pair crossed a 10-yard patch of razor wire, Craig said. Hamilton continued to flee, scaling the 12-foot outer chain-link fence as prison guards subdued Graewe.