It's a Tight Squeeze for This Would-Be Houdini of the Hoosegow
I wasn't trying to escape," protested prisoner Jackie James Robinson, 29, with an air of injured innocence. "Do I look like some kind of fool?"
No comment. But it wasn't Robinson's best day. In the morning San Francisco police kicked in the door of the ex-con's apartment and dragged him off in his pajamas for parole violation. They clapped him in a holding cell in the Mission Police Station, turned their backs, and soon found their prisoner wedged into this 6¼"-by-13½" gap. "He said he was trying to get his cigarettes," scoffed a skeptical cop, Jim Balovich.
To get Robinson behind, rather than between, bars, police first tugged on his arms, then hauled on his legs. They had no luck at either end, even after he was lathered down with detergent to make him more slippery. Firemen arrived with a hydraulic contraption to spread the bars, but that didn't work either. Finally a classic instrument of prison lore ended Robinson's entrapment: a hacksaw. No, said Police Sgt. Willis Garriott, Robinson would not be charged with attempted jailbreak. "I did tell him, though," Garriott laughed, "that I might send him a repair bill."
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