“Houdiniesque”: New York Man Baffles Police After Freeing Himself From Handcuffs And Stealing Police Cruiser

220px-HarryHoudini1899POLICECARweb1-master180Police are treating a recent escape by a handcuffed suspect as “Houdiniesque” after Bryan McMenamin, 38, was able to drive away with a police cruiser. He had been handcuffed behind his back and placed in the back of the car with another suspect. Of course, there is the possibility that it was not as much “Houdiniesque” as “Keystone Copian” if there an alternative explanation like the cuffs were not entirely closed.

McMenamin was arrested on charges of heroin possession and put in the backseat of the unmarked car. He then somehow made it to the front seat, stole the car, and hit another officer, and sped away. The police found the car with the other suspect still inside less than a mile away. A detective was struck in the leg by the car as they escaped, which will likely be charged as assault or even attempted murder.

He remained on the loose for a day until the police received a tip of a man matching his description. He was no longer wearing the handcuffs.

The stunt will make him a hero in prison but he went from a simple possession count to a likely torrent of charges from car theft to assault to escape to property damage. They could even charge him with kidnapping and attempted murder. What is clear is that the police are not in a forgiving mood after being embarrassed by his contortionist abilities. It would be an interesting defense on the possible assault or attempted murder charge that he was still wearing the handcuffs and did not have true control of the vehicle in making his escape. The only clear thing is that the prison is likely to be a tad cautious in the cell that they select for Bryan McMenamin.

Source: NY Times

21 thoughts on ““Houdiniesque”: New York Man Baffles Police After Freeing Himself From Handcuffs And Stealing Police Cruiser”

  1. No cell phone decision in Wurie or Riley by Scotus today. Maybe someone did steal Alito’s clerk’s Smartphone like that alien guy said.

  2. Bush II on high-tech handcuffs:

    “And so the fact that they purchased the machine meant somebody had to make the machine. And when somebody makes a machine, it means there’s jobs at the machine-making place.”—visiting the Silverado Cable Co., Mesa, Ariz., May 27, 2008

  3. Darren,
    If you are familiar with the inner workings of a cuff lock, the innards are similar enough that I doubt there will be a whole lot of difference. Back when I was a kid, my grandpa gave me a book by Blackstone the magician. Big thick book, and I learned a lot from it. I also read all about Houdini. However, I really became interested in handcuffs when we lost a deputy from Rankin County. He was transporting two felons from the county jail to Parchman Penitentiary. One of them got loose from his cuffs. There was no screen. They reached over the back of the seat, got his handgun and killed him. Threw his body out on the side of the road and stole his cruiser.

    They didn’t get far. That incident changed the whole transport protocol for Mississippi officers. And I became quite interested in how handcuffs worked. Houdini was the first to discover a sharp rap on a hard object will release a lock, if you know how the lock pin is positioned and exactly the place and angle to strike the blow.

    Curiously, cheap generic brand handcuffs are usually harder to break than expensive ones. Go figure. Questionable quality control in manufacture makes them less predictable. Funny incident at one of the training classes held by the former sheriff. I was there when the class practiced putting handcuffs on each other. One set of cuffs locked, but wouldn’t unlock. This poor rookie spent almost the rest of the five hour class over in the corner as first one and then another officer tried to free him from those handcuffs. Every kind of tactical key imaginable was tried. Finally somebody got him loose before the end of the class. I didn’t have my pick set with me, so I didn’t try. If it had gone on much longer, I would have come back to my shop, gotten my picks and tried my hand at it, although I thought they were probably going to have to get a power grinder and cut them off.

  4. Glad I used Peerless Hinge Cuffs instead of the S&W used in the video. If that mattered.

  5. BFM, How about just having a safe word w/ your girlfriend or wife. Trust is important in any real relationship!

    1. If you are referring to my ex-wife, I think I’m sticking with that plastic key – if I can just figure out a place where she won’t find it.

  6. Darren,
    Best is the hinged cuff, wrists behind back, facing out, double lock on top. Takes longer than others to get out. Up to about two minutes.

    Got to have something hard to bang against to release one of the locks, then a piece of shim made from an old windshield wiper blade to release the ratchet.

    I have seen a prisoner break the chain on a pair of Smith & Wesson cuffs. Takes a lot of strength and determination though.

    However, wanna bet they just used standard chain cuffs? I want to see what the IA investigation comes up with, and I hope something was caught on camera.

    1. “Best is the hinged cuff, wrists behind back, facing out, double lock on top. Takes longer than others to get out. Up to about two minutes. ”

      Not that I am anticipating any problems, but perhaps you could do a Utube video for those of us fascinated by this timely topic. Two minutes is impressive.

  7. ” … it was not as much “Houdiniesque” as “Keystone Copian” …” – JT

    Hyper tension either way.

  8. I’ve seen video of suspects in the back of police cars. The report states this was an unmarked car, however. I wonder whether there is any video in this case.

  9. I don’t know if this was due to lock-picking by the suspect or improperly applied handcuffs. This could be one of the reasons hinge cuffs are better than chain-cuffs in my view.

    This is a Peerless Hinge cuff. It offers better security than regular chain cuffs for most applications. Chain cuffs have a single chain between each of the cuffs.

    Properly applied the hinge cuff, unlike the chain cuff, does not allow the prisoner to twist around and manipulate the lock area, provided the key hole is facing up and on the opposite side of the wrists than the hands. This way the prisoner will be unable to pick the locks.

    For extra security you can pass one of the cuffs through a belt loop on the prisoner’s pants as the cuff is being tightened around the wrist. This will work very well in them trying to bring their hands underneath them and to the front.

    The incident also shows the importance of having a screen between the front seat and the back seat when transporting prisoners and making sure any window between the two is fully locked in the event the prisoner gets loose. Moreover, a suspect does not necessarily have to fully remove handcuffs to even drive a car, just getting their cuffed hands to the front is often enough. Since the article mentions this was an unmarked car, it is likely not to have such a screen.

    I would say in addition to the charges mentioned a carjacking charge could also be possible.

  10. Since this article is about stealing things from pigs I thought it appropriate to drop this news in on y’all. Beldar here. I felt honored that the wikifreaks (not leaks) folks would entrust this to me to pass on. Yesterday a “datathief” gathered less than metadata from a smartphone belonging to a clerk who works for a Judge whom you Earthlings know as Alito. The “data” reveals that Alito and his pals on the Court have been discussing with a high ranking security figure from the Executive a decision which will spill over onto government spying on you. So a decision will be reached soon which looks innocuous at first, that any cop can seize any cellphone for a short time and take data off of it. Then give it back so that the seizure was a mere search not a seizure. The intention is to use the word “data” not “information” so that it seems innocuous. The car stop is the scene of the crime. The expired plate on the car is the justification. You are forewarned. I have to go now and report back to my planet that things just went to hell in a handbasket here in AmeriKa.

  11. I was watching a special on prison guards and they were commenting that putting the prisoners in cuffs only slows them down. They expect an experienced prisoner can get out of his cuffs in 2-5 minutes. That is why the double-cuff the ones they have them most concern with.

  12. Cuffs are amazingly easy to get out of if one knows how. You can buy an easily concealable universal handcuff key, and in fact every correctional officer knows to have at least one secreted on their person in a place that might not be detected by a patdown. That is a precaution in case the officer is taken hostage or overpowered and handcuffed by prisoners.

    WordMess doesn’t like links to Amazon, so copy and paste the text below into Amazon’s search bar:

    Universal Handcuff Key – Concealable, Plastic Polymer – (2-pack) Black

    I don’t know if that is what happened in this case, but wouldn’t be surprised.

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