An alleged murderer and arms trafficker escaped from maximum-security prison Matrosskaya Tishina in Moscow from a small hole he broke open in the cell’s ceiling. Oleg Topalov managed to climb up to the roof of the prison, and the escape is just the fourth successful attempt in 20 years, Agence France-Presse reports.
Topalov climbed to the prison’s roof where he then escaped over the jail’s main fence. Topalov’s escape from “one of Moscow's most impregnable jails” may have been done with just a spoon, according to AFP.
All cells in the prison are checked for banned items, and prisoners are only allowed to have spoons on their person in the jail, according to state-run news agency RIA Novosti. The prison is a detention center used to house prisoners as they await trial. Topalov was charged for double murder and arms trafficking in 2011 and was transferred to the prison in October 2011, with the court receiving his case in April 2013, AFP notes.
The Russian Federal Penitentiary Service has released a photo of the 33-year-old, described as roughly 5’ 7” with dark curly hair. The convicted murderer was previously deemed an escape risk, AFP reports. The escape occurred early on Tuesday, approximately 1:15 a.m. local time, the Voice of Russia reports.
Topalov was being held in a cell with seven other prisoners, and law enforcement officials do not know if the other inmates helped him escape. Police are also investigating the prison and its staff for negligence that could have aided Topalov’s escape.
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Topalov remains at large, and a coordinated manhunt involving Moscow police is currently underway.