Sahar Adatia and Jimmy Singh.
It’s a scene you’d likely see in a movie – except this time, it unravelled in real life.
A 33-year-old prisoner is believed to have escaped from the maximum-security Adelaide Remand Centre by tying pieces of clothing together to form a long rope, which was spotted hanging down one side of the prison building.
According to security footage, inmate Jason Burdon managed to flee the building located on Currie Street through the prison’s kitchen area on the morning of Tuesday 1 December 2020.
Video shows Mr Burdon emerging from an air vent high on the side of the centre around 9:55am.
He then uses the cord of clothes bound together to lower himself onto the footpath.
Police were informed of the escape about 10:20am before commencing a search that expanded well beyond the city and describing the man as being around 165 centimetres tall with a medium build and light brown hair.
“He was last seen navy blue T-shirt, navy blue shorts with dark coloured socks and work boots,” they advised in a statement.
Plot Thickens: Fugitive Makes Pit Stop to Steal Electric Bike and Car to Accelerate his Escape
If the man’s getaway wasn’t seamless enough, he then also managed to allegedly steal a couple of vehicles along the way to speed up his journey to freedom.
According to investigators, once fleeing the prison grounds, the fugitive allegedly stole an electric bicycle and rode away on it.
Unbeknownst to him at the time, however, he was being tracked via CCTV through the city and recognised on cameras heading towards Port Road.
At around 12:45pm, Mr Burdon then stopped at West Lakes Aquatic Centre in West Lakes Shore, about 15 kilometres northwest of Adelaide CBD, where he ditched the electric bike and then allegedly stole a black Toyota RAV4 from the parking lot.
It is believed he even managed to change the plates of the vehicle.
The black car, which was described as having distinctive silver roof racks and a camping awning on one side of the vehicle, belonged to a worker at the Aquatic Centre who was out on the water with other instructors and children at the time.
Centre manager Ross Ogilvie said he had no idea the man at hand was a prisoner on the loose until police happened to show up.
“I thought this is a bit strange having so many police for a little break-in our shed, because we’ve had stuff stolen from here before,” he told ABC News.
“Then all the police starting arriving and I thought maybe there’s more to this than meets the eye.”
Meanwhile, Superintendent Craig Wall advised the prisoner was believed to be of “low risk” to the public, informing he was in custody for a breach of bail and “some firearms offences at the lower end”.
“We believe he is of low risk to the community and we don’t believe he has access to firearms,” Superintendent Wall said.
“We don’t believe he is of high risk, but because he is an escapee, we would like to apprehend him as soon as possible.”
Not First Time Prisoner Had Managed to Escape Lawful Custody
It turns out this is not the first time the prisoner had managed to escape lawful custody.
According to Minister for Correctional Services Vincent Tarzia, around a decade ago, Mr Burdon succeeded in absconding from a hospital.
“This individual has been evasive, he has been slippery,” he said.
“We know that there was an incident in 2010 when he escaped from a hospital at the time.”
Before Mr Burdon managed to escape the Adelaide Remand Centre, he had been working in the facility’s kitchen area.
Kitchen operations were under the supervision of staff from Serco — a private leading provider of public services which has run the remand centre since 2019.
The remand centre accommodates male remand and sentenced prisoners.
Mr Burdon has been charged with three counts of serious criminal trespass in a place of residence, five counts of dishonestly taking property, deceiving another to benefit himself, driving a motor vehicle without consent, dishonestly dealing with property and a further two counts of breaching bail.
Escaping lawful custody or trying to escape from lawful custody, such as from a prison, is a crime carrying up to ten years imprisonment in NSW, pursuant to section 31OD of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW).
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