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PRISON

Prisoners on the run after laundry vent escape

Three prisoners climbed through a laundry vent at Waaghof prison in Basel on Monday before escaping through the kitchen of a neighbouring apartment.

The tenant of the apartment was not home when 33-year-old Bojan Strle, and Nebojsa Gicic and Dejan Vipic, both 37, broke through the kitchen ceiling on Monday, news site Blick reported.

The three men, all being held for drug or robbery charges, were supposed to be washing the clothes of their fellow inmates when prison officers came to collect them at 5.30pm but found they had disappeared.

“These are inmates who have proven themselves over a long period and are considered reliable. Such detainees help in the kitchen or even in the laundry," Klaus Mannhart, spokesman for the police, told Blick.

Pascal Suter, the neighbour whose ceiling now has an enormous hole where the men broke through, is less than pleased, news site Tages Anzeiger reported.

About one week ago, Suter informed the police that for the past few weeks he had heard scraping and hammering through the wall in the evenings. Despite several checks, officers found no signs that the prisoners were preparing their escape route.

Evidence suggests that the escapees did not immediately flee. They first washed themselves in Suter’s bathroom, and then got changed. They stole 400 francs ($413) and €30 ($37), as well as some clothing.

“They must have planned their escape for weeks,” Mannhart said.

This is the fifth break-out in the past 17 years since the prison became operational. So far, all previous escapees have been re-captured.

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PRISON

Vaud police capture two of five prison escapees

Police have captured two of the five prisoners who made a dramatic escape this week from a jail near Lausanne using weapons and tools passed to them from accomplices on the outside.

Vaud police capture two of five prison escapees
Aerial view of Bois-Mermet prison. Photo: Canton of Vaud

Vaud cantonal police said on Wednesday that they arrested two of the escapees from the Bois-Mermet prison and two of their accomplices during a manhunt involving some 80 officers.
   
The two captured escapees, a 34-year-old Albanian convicted of drug crimes and a 22-year-old Kosovar convicted of theft, were caught in an apartment on the outskirts of Lausanne, along with one Serbian accomplice, police said in a statement.

Another Serb believed to have helped them escape was arrested in the central canton of Lucerne, police said.
   
The force said it was continuing its investigations "with the aim of arresting the remaining escaped convicts". 
   
Two of the men still on the run, a 47-year-old Frenchman and a 45-year-old Serb are members of the "Pink Panther" gang of international jewel thieves, who were given their name after British detectives found a diamond ring hidden in a jar of face cream, echoing an incident in Peter Sellers' 1963 comedy "The Pink Panther".
   
A 31-year old Bosnian, who had been held for theft, also remains on the run, police said.
   
The five men took less than five minutes to escape from the Bois-Mermet prison on Tuesday morning before the eyes of some 30 other inmates and guards.
   
They were in the prison courtyard when three masked accomplices on the outside climbed a ladder and threw a bag filled with weapons and other items into the yard.
   
Grabbing the gun from the bag, the five men threatened the other detainees and the guards and sprayed them with some kind of irritant to keep them away and climbed the wall using a ladder, also provided by their accomplices, police said.

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