28 Oct Escape – Restraints & Handcuffs
Predator: Mac, small-time criminal and escape artist. Rockingham County Jail
Discussion: Not everyone will use the techniques of escape, but everyone should know how to escape.
“I haven’t run into too many handcuffs that I can’t get out of,” says Mac. Mac is known for his ability to slip out of police custody. “I was in the Army a few years back, and some people have the stupid idea I was in Special Operations Forces because I can escape from so many tight situations. That’s a laugh. What’s even funnier is how I learned what I know. It’s magic. Yep, it really is…
“I used to earn money as a magician for birthday parties. Turns out magic know-how is pretty useful for getting away from the cops. Think about Harry Houdini. That guy was one of the greatest magicians ever. He was known for all his great escapes.”
Step One – Get Big: A great getaway starts even before you get tied up or the cuffs go on. You want to get big.
“Knowing this came in handy when I was tied up by some punks who wanted to horn in on the territory that me and some other guys had staked out. They had a gun. I had no choice but to let them tie me up. Then they left saying they’d come back in a little while to finish off the job. I certainly wasn’t waiting around. I wiggled right out of that rope.”
How It’s Done: “I set it up by how I positioned my thumbs and palms when they were tying me up. Keep your thumbs together and spread your palms out. That flexes your wrist muscles and makes your wrists bigger. If you put your palms together at thumb level it looks like your palms are together. It’s all an illusion. There’s a great big old space at the back of your wrists.”
Chair Trick: “You can also do something similar if tied to a chair. Again, right when you’re getting tied up, take deep breaths. That makes your chest bigger. At the same time, you want to arch your lower back and try to straighten your arms and knees as much as possible. Try to move your feet outside the chair legs. Then you make like Shrinking Violet when everybody leaves the room. It works with either a rope or a chain.”
Back to Front: “It goes without saying that you wanna have your hands in front of you if possible. Those damn cops always cuff me from the back. Either front or back, I know to push my arms in the cuffs as far as possible. Here again, I’m trying to get the area as big as possible within the restraint. If I’m cuffed from the back, I move both hands to one side of my body. I look down or try to catch sight of the cuffs from any reflective surface. That gives me a better idea of what I’m doing. Then I get the cuffs down as far as possible on my wrists and pull hard. I curl up, move my hands past my ass. Still curled up as much as possible, I put one leg at a time under the cuffs. Once I got the cuffs in front of me, I can begin to work my magic.”
Lock Picking: “If I can’t wiggle out of the cuffs by getting big, I pick the handcuff lock. I used to always carry a bobby pin or a straight piece of metal. If I was lucky, the cops didn’t notice it. I’d just wiggle my hands around to my sock where I always kept my bobby pin. Grab it and push one end of bobby pin into the lock. The easiest way was to shim the lock. You stick the straight end of the bobby pin into the lock’s teeth and ratchet. Just like opening a zipper. The cuffs will tighten for a minute. But once the shim is pushed down enough, all you gotta do is pull up and yank open the lock.”
Mac continued, “Or you can push the end of the bobby pin into the lock and sweep it toward your wrist. Keep going until the bobby pin catches the ratcheting gate in the cuff. Voila, the shackle arm opens up. But my favorite is simply using the metal end of a seatbelt buckle. You wedge the seatbelt buckle end in between the two rings of the handcuff. The rings are known in the business as double bows. Then you pry the double bows away from the shackle arm and break the rivet holding the cuff together. Home free, well at least free range inside the vehicle.”
“Now, I cut all that crap out. I got my own handcuff key. Those are only a few of the escape tricks up my sleeve,” Mac says.
While Mac uses his abilities to evade the law, the same techniques can be put to good use. If a bad guy is after you, first try to avoid being taken. Yell. If it makes sense, fight. If the odds are against you, sometimes the best option is to give up. Bide your time until a future opportunity to escape. Do what Mac does. Use a little magical know-how.
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