It took Andy Dufresne years of work with actual tools to escape from Shawshank Prison in The Shawshank Redemption. But it only took one hour and a penny for Francisco Puemas to escape from the shoddy 77th Division police station in Los Angeles.
"The 20-year-old burglary suspect was able to escape from the jail because the station's holding cell walls, unlike those at other stations, were not reinforced with sheet metal or made of cinderblock to prevent escape.
In addition to the penny, Puemas also chatted incessantly with police officers and asked 'inane' questions, apparently in order to lull them into ignoring him, said LAPD Capt. Bill Murphy.
'He would say all kinds of stuff, like 'Hey, I want food.' He engaged whoever he could in conversation' Murphy said. 'He was real smart, he was really street smart. He knew how to engage people and aggravate them. That was part of his plan.'
Murphy said Puemas cut a hole 15 inches by 9 inches into the front of the holding cell, crawled through and made his way down a corridor about 18 feet from the watch commander's office.
He went through two interior doors and then through a fire door with an alarm that has not worked in more than a year, Murphy said.
'That door, unfortunately, led into 77th Street,' he said.
He added that Puemas, who was picked up a day later, was rather proud of his escape, and eagerly shared with police details about how he did it."