Columbia, SC (WLTX) – Officials say cell phones and possibly a drone were used to help an inmate escape a South Carolina prison and end up all the way in Texas.
The latest incident further highlights their cries for the federal government to block cell phone signals at state jails and prisons.
South Carolina Department of Corrections Director Bryan Stirling says Jimmy Causey escaped from Lieber Correctional in Dorchester County on July 4th at 8 p.m.
“We believe a cell phone was used to facilitate and give this inmate the resources to escape. We also potentially believe that a drone was used to help him get the contraband in to escape,” Stirling explained.
Stirling said cell phones in state jails and prisons allows inmates to hurt officers, witnesses and the public.
“They are physically incarcerated but they are no longer virtually incarcerated,” Stirling said.
“It's senseless to me,” SLED Chief Mark Keel said of the Federal Communications Commission’s stance on not blocking cell phone signals at state prisons and jails.
“As long as cell phone continue to be utilized by inmates in prisons, we’re going to have very well planned escapes as this was,” Keel said.
The FCC says blocking the signals there would also affect residents who live near state prisons.
Both Keel and Stirling said cell phone signals need to be blocked to protect the public and stop inmates from continuing their criminal activity.
Officials say Causey used a dummy to fake out guards.
He was able to use wire cutter to cut through the fence and get outside.
Stirling said Causey used a cell phone to get help from the outside, and a drone may have been used to deliver him the supplies he needed to make his escape.
Causey was found in Texas Friday morning.
Officers say they found a semi-automatic handgun, and shotgun, ammo, four cell phones, and $47,000 in cash on Causey.
This was Causey's second escape from a state prison.
He escaped from the Broad River Road facility in 2005 but was captured three days later.
Causey will be brought back to South Carolina and will be housed at a maximum security facility.