Sacramento Record Union (Sacramento, California) - May 23, 1895
CRIMINALS AT LARGE
Four Prisoners Escape From the Alameda County Jail
OAKLAND, May 22 - Four prisoners in the Alameda County Jail broke out during the night and escaped. They are: Thomas Harris, alias N. F. Hickey, Jack Dempsey, Thomas J. Duffy and Thomas Denton.
Harris had been charged with sodomy. He had one trial, and would soon have been brought up for a second trial, when it was expected that he would be acquitted. He was made a trusty, and had the run of the corridors and many privileges. His cell was unlocked at night. He took the other three prisoners in his cell last night.
The prisoners cut through three iron bars and reached the roof, lowering themselves to the yard by rope baskets. By means of a canvas ladder, pushed over the top of the wall by broomsticks, they scaled the wall and so escaped from the jail yard to the street.
No trace of the escaped prisoners has yet been discovered.
TWO OF THE ESCAPES CAPTURED
San Jose, May 22 - Two men answering the description of Jack Dempsey and Tom Dunton, two of the Oakland jailbreakers, were arrested here this evening. The man supposed to be Dempsey answers the description perfectly, and he is undoubtedly the escaped burglar. The description received of Dunton was so meager that he cannot be positively identified.
San Francisco Call (San Francisco, California) - May 23, 1895
FOUR PRISONERS ESCAPE
They Saw Through the Roof of the Alameda County Jail
Thomas J. Duffy, J. Dempsey, T. Dunton and Thomas Harris at Liberty
Four prisoners escaped from the Alameda County Jail between 11 o'clock Tuesday evening and 6 o'clock yesterday morning. They are as follows: Thomas J. Duffy, charged with bigamy; J. Dempsey, charged with burglary; Thomas Harris, alias Hickey, charged with felony; and T. Dunton, charged with burglary. Harris was a trusty in the Grand Jury corridor, from which the four desperate men made their way to the outer air, and it was through his treachery that he men were able to escape.
At 6 o'clock Tuesday evening the prisoners in the corridor, which is in the south wing of the building, were locked up as usual, Jailer Will Lane handing the keys of the cells to Harris through the bars which separate that portion of the jail from the rest of the structure, and watching him while he locked the doors.
Apparently the prisoners were as secure as they ever were, and Lane went to the office to spend the remainder of his watch. At 11 o'clock with Chief Jailer Al White he made his last rounds for the night and went to bed.
In the corridor are three empty cells, the doors of which are left open at all times. Just before the time for locking the prisoners in for the night Duffy, Dempsey and Dunton slipped into the empty cells and were concealed there when Jailer Lane appeared to see that everything was made secure for the night.
Observing that the corridor was empty the jailer supposed that the men were in their proper cells, and after pushing down the lever, which works the auxiliary bolts, went away satisfied. An arched grating of 3/8 x 1 1/2-inch wrought-iron bars extended across from the top of the cells on one side of the corridor to those on the other, forming the only barrier between the prisoners and the roof of the jail, which is composed of an inner lining of half-inch planks and the roof proper of 5/8-inch redwood, sheathed with tin.
Climbing up the grating at the end of the tier of cells, the men sawed through two of the bars forming the grating at their intersection with the cross bars.
A brace and bit soon made holes through which the saw could work, and the job was done. By cutting up their blankets and plaiting them into long ropes and performing a like operation with the canvas covering of one of their cots, means of reaching the ground inside the jailyard were manufactured, and the concrete wall which stands a short distance from the jail was easily surmounted by another braided canvas rope which the men carried with them.
At 6 o'clock yesterday morning Trusty Humphries saw the rope dangling from the roof of the jail. A search was at once institute, resulting in the discovery that Duffy, Dempsey, Dunton and Harris were missing. As they had at least six hours' start of the officers, it was surmised that they might have left the city by some of the freight-trains which start during the night, and descriptions were at once telegraphed to all points within 100 miles of Oakland.
A reward of $50 is offered by Sheriff White for the arrest of each of the men. The entire force of the Sheriff's office was out yesterday searching the water front and other localities where the men would be likely to go.
Mrs. M. F. Chloupek, who lives on Fourth street, just south of the jail, reported that she had seen two men on the roof of the jail at 7:10 o'clock on Tuesday evening.
Los Angeles Herald (Los Angeles, California) - May 23, 1895
A Jail Delivery
OAKLAND, May 22. - Four prisoners in the Alameda county jail broke out during the night and escaped. They are Thomas Harris, alias N. F. Hickey, Jack Dempsey, Thomas J. Duffey and Thomas Denton. Harris, who has been charged with sodomy, had one trial and was soon to be brought in for a second trial, when it was expected he would be acquitted. He was made a trusty and had the run of the corridors and many privileges. His call was unlocked at night. He took three other prisoners in his cell last night. They cut through three iron bars and reached the roof, lowering themselves to the yard by rope baskets. By means of a canvas ladder pushed over the top of the wall by broom sticks they scaled the wall and so escaped from the jail yard to the street. No trace of the escaped prisoners has yet been discovered.
Sacramento Daily Union (Sacramento, California) - June 1, 1895
SEEN NEAR HERE
Two Escaped Oakland Prisoners Shot at By a Constable
An Oakland officer went to Reno last night to take back Thomas Harris, alias Hickey, an escaped prisoner, who was arrested there. He and another man had beaten their way on the train that was wrecked near there, and the latter was killed.
When Hickey escaped from the Oakland jail, Thomas J. Duffy, Thomas Dunton and John Dempsey also escaped, and it is thought the man that was killed was one of them.
Frank Rossmore, a Roseville Constable, states that he had met Dunton and Dempsey in an open field near Sacramento recently, and with the assistance of another man he attempted to capture them. The pair took to the brush, and he fired two shots at them, and he thinks that Dunton was wounded.
San Francisco Call (San Francisco, California) - November 29, 1895
The examination of Thomas Harris, alias Hickey, was completed and he was held to answer in the Superior Court, with bail fixed at $3000