Prison Escape Powerball

MANHUNT HOTLINE_Where Excuses Go to DieWelcome to Apocalypse Hoosegow 10, the Lotto jackpot of potential prison escape movies (and the impossibly straight faces of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department).

Man, this story has got it alland it ends in the parking lot of novelty grocery store, Whole Foods.

Killer convicts chipping their way through steel and concrete – check! Laughably low estimates of escaped prisoner capabilities – check! Brutal cellblock battle to distract guards – check! Cougar-teacher helping misunderstood love interest – check! Tied together bed sheets and socks and stuff – check! Months in the making, mistake-free master plan – check! Violent terror-inmates on the loose in conservative county – check! FBI dudes elbowing local badge bumblers outta the way – check! Adam-12-era hoosegow gettin’ last laugh on OC budget dorks – check! Incredibly straight-faced cop brass asking for public help in catching penis-severing Muslim blowtorch monster – check! check! check!

Apocalypse Hoosegow 10_Where Excuses Go to DieOoh, and don’t forget: District Attorney’s office infighting – check! Unauthorized D.A. office statements made public – check! Open criticism – check! Gorilla-goons scratching their heads at escape hole – check! Magic gnats flying out of inmates mouths like in The Green Mile – ok, not that, but Range Rover-driving, Islamophobic blondes blessed with new hero – checkity check! 
Irfan Khan : Los Angeles Times

And of course there’s an ACTUAL getaway van (Sheriff’s Dept. emphasis) and easily scapegoated foreign-sounding bad guy names – check! Bonus stereotypes of evil gangster youth, sneaky Vietcong guy, and bloodthirsty Iranian – check! check! check! The crown jewel of prison yard street cred: #ocjailescape – check! Catchy comparisons to movie face-eater Hannibal Lecter – check! A $50,000 reward doubled, and then doubled again – double check!

Who in the world is gonna get to direct this cornucopia of invigorated Hollywood custody cliches?

Photo circa 1968 from the Orange County Register archives.  The Orange county Jail sits at the corner of N. Flower St. and W. 6th St. in Santa Ana.
OC Jail – Orange County Register archives.

But what makes this the prison break to end all prison breaks is the sheer number of times the phrase, “What could possibly go wrong?” comes into play. The facility in question has a nearly nonexistent video surveillance system in a region of the country where most homeowners can afford to have Pentagon-compliant cameras pointed at their front doors. It’s a crumbling, outdated jail with a rich history of rooftop escapes, whose leaders must assume (like most baby boomer cop brass) their prisoners are appropriately tyrannized. And this is all topped off by escapees with a 16 hour head start – which is gonna roll a dozen heads.

From the dumbo deputy who, in the same week as the escape, drove off with his department-issue AR-15 assault rifle on the trunk of his car to a Hossein Nayeri and Jonathan Tieu and Bac Duongblowtorch kidnapper being housed in the same drunk tank dorm as a guy who stole some cheese, this story is a fireworks display of County Jail incompetence.

The three escapees – Hossein Nayeri, Jonathan Tieu and Bac Duong, all accused of violent crimes – were not even noticed to be missing in multiple prisoner counts; they secured their van through an ad on Craigslist; and now they’ve found themselves a place in prison lore.The daily updates sound like they’re coming from a very busy TV writers’ room.

Get ready for an avalanche of excuses and hopefully a really fun prison escape flick. Even with all three recaptured, his tale keeps on giving, doesn’t it? Now what actors are gonna portray these freedom enthusiasts, I wonder?