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Search for escaped inmates intensifies in Willsboro after possible sighting

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WILLSBORO, N.Y. — The search for two escaped inmates has intensified in the town just an hour away from the prison where they were incarcerated.

Richard Matt, 48, and David Sweat, 34, were discovered to be missing from their cells Saturday morning at Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, N.Y.

The search was prompted by a citizen who spotted two “suspicious men” walking down a road in Willsboro in the middle of a “driving rainstorm” overnight “in an area that’s all … large farms and fields and wooded lots,” Town Supervisor Shaun Gillilland said. As the citizen’s car approached them, they took off.

Willsboro is about 40 miles southeast of Clinton Correctional Facility.

Dozens of heavily armed law enforcement officers could be seen combing through the wooded area near Middle Road.

The spotting is one of the first big potential breakthroughs in the case.

Both suspects are considered dangerous and should not be approached. Authorities worry that the two convicted killers may kill again knowing they have nothing to lose.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said they cut through a cell wall that included steel a quarter-inch thick, maneuvered across a catwalk, shimmied down six stories to a tunnel of pipes, followed that tunnel, broke through a double-brick wall, cut into a 24-inch steam pipe, shimmied their way through the steam pipe, cut another hole so they could get out of the pipe, and finally surfaced through a manhole.

The Town of Willsboro put out a tweet Tuesday afternoon urging caution to residents.

"Please lock house and car doors tonight. Avoid walking around town if possible. There will be increase police patrols tonight," @TownofWillsboro tweeted.

Police are offering a $100,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the two men.

Anyone with information is asked to call 1-866-GIVETIP.

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