On June 11, 1962, Frank Morris and brothers Clarence and John Anglin were ready to bust out of prison. Over the past year they had patiently chipped away at the air vents in their respective cells with spoons. At night they’d replace the vents and cover the expanding tunnels with pieces of colored cardboard.
On the night of the breakout they squirmed through the tunnels into an unused service corridor and made their way to the roof. To keep the guards from noticing they were gone, they left behind dummy heads in their beds made of paper maché and real hair gathered from the prison barbershop.
From the roof they climbed the barbed wire fence and floated away on a raft made of rubber raincoats. They were never seen again. Fragments of their raft and plywood paddles were found on Angel Island, two miles away from Alcatraz. Footprints led away from the raft and a car was stolen that night.
A fourth man, Allen West, didn’t make it to the rendezvous in time and was left behind.
Did the three men escape? Despite many rumors, none of them were ever found. A ship’s captain said he spotted a body floating in the bay wearing a prison uniform. The body wasn’t recovered. Their files remain open. . . .
According to legend, they would return to Alcatraz for a visit on the 50th anniversary. As unlikely as that sounds, US Marshal Michael Dyke (who, according to NPR stood ready to handcuff the now 80-year-olds) spent yesterday on Alcatraz hoping to catch the aged fugitives. He left at the end of the day disappointed.
Like all crimes against heaven, there’s no statute of limitations on the crime of breaking out of a federal prison — no matter how much time passes. When we die, someone will be waiting for us with handcuffs (Matt 22:13). That’s why we need a Savior.