Mafia Boss Escapes Prison by Knotting Bed Sheets Together

An Italian mafia boss has absconded from a Sardinian “high-security” prison using the oldest trick in the book: knotting bed sheets together and scrambling down an exterior wall.

Marco Raduano, escape, mafia, Sacra Corona Unita
Security video from the Badu ‘e Carros prison in Sardinia shows Raduano’s daring escape. The Mafia boss was sentenced to 18 years in 2018 and is now the subject of a manhunt. (Image: Vice)

A manhunt is currently underway for Marco Raduano, 39, the boss of the Sacra Corona Unita criminal organization. He was imprisoned in 2018 for 19 years for drug trafficking and was midway through a murder trial. But Raduano wasn’t prepared to wait until 2046 to potentially regain his freedom.

After employing this clichéd but effective means of escape, Raduano dropped from some height onto grass in the prison courtyard. He then exited via a courtyard door to which he had somehow obtained a key – and bolted.

Penchant for Violence

The Sacra Corona Unita mafia is based in the Puglia region on Italy’s “heel.” It’s less well known than its counterparts like the Cosa Nostra and the ‘Ndrangheta, and is distinguished by its violence.

The group is infamous for shattering its victims’ skulls with shotgun blasts so their relatives can’t give them traditional open-casket funerals. Raduano was known for guarding his personal stash of guns with a boa constrictor. The organization’s revenue streams include drug trafficking, prostitution, arms trafficking, extortion, and gambling.

In 2018, Italian police broke up a €4.5 billion illegal online gambling operation that was a collaboration between the Sacra Corona Unita, the Cosa Nostra, and the ‘Ndrangheta.

Prosecutors said Raduano’s outfit had been instrumental in bringing the usually rival Sicilian and Calabrian factions together, and had used its technical know-how to build the operation.

The Sacra Corona Unita is also known to operate a large network of gambling dens in Albania, which is five hours by ferry from Puglia across the Adriatic.

Staff Shortages

Meanwhile, an inquest is underway into how Raduano was able to slip away unnoticed. In fact, his disappearance wasn’t noticed for two hours, despite being caught on security video.

Officials at the Badu ‘e Carros prison said Raduano made his getaway during a shift change at a time when only one guard was keeping watch because of staff shortages.

Raduano was a model prisoner during his incarceration and had been rewarded with a plum job in the library on an upper floor. Investigators believe this gave him the opportunity to scope out the guards’ schedule as they patrolled the wall.

“It was going to happen sooner or later, the prison is full of holes,” Giovanni Conteddu of the prison’s union chapter told Sky News.

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