Prisoners escape after guards put dummy in watch tower

Two prisoners have escaped from a prison in Argentina after guards placed a dummy with a football for a head in the watch tower because of a shortage of manpower.

The two men, Walter Pozo and Cesar Andres, leapt over a wire fence before scaling the perimeter wall and making their escape unnoticed by the remaining guards.

Prison workers said that a shortage of staff meant they were only able to man two of the 15 guard towers so they had to resort to using a stand in. A prison source said: “We’ve made a dummy out of a football and a prison officer’s cap, so that the prisoner see its shadow and think they’re being watched.”

We named him Wilson, like in the film Cast Away, and put him in one of the towers,” the man told the Diario Rio Negro newspaper, referring to the Tom Hanks film in which his character invents a volleyball character for company.

The source said that the video cameras monitoring the perimeter wall had stopped working some months ago. He said that he hoped the incident would alert the authorities to the problems with lack of resources and that politicians would act to improve the conditions.

Both had been serving out sentences for armed robbery at the jail in Argentina’s Neuquén province. The escaped convicts, who were nearing the end of their sentences so were being held in a part of the prison with fewer security measures, have not yet been recaptured.

The casual quality of life in most Latin cultures has long been celebrated. Especially – sometimes – by crooks willing to show a bit more initiative than their guards.

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