A group of Florida prison inmates on work release were in the right place at the right time last week, when they were given the opportunity to use their criminal skills – in particular, breaking into cars to rescue a baby trapped inside an SUV.
As WFTS-TV (Tampa) reports, a group of five Pasco County inmates were at work on median strips in front of the courthouse on Thursday, fully decked in the traditional black-and-white striped jumpsuits of jail inmates, when an opportunity to show their humanity happened right in front of them.
A mother and father pulled into a courthouse parking spot in their SUV, with their one-year-old daughter safely fastened into her car seat in the back. Unfortunately, the dad somehow tossed his keys into the front seat, then closed the back door, locking the one-year-old inside.
Ordinarily, the police response to such a situation would be to break the window and rescue the trapped infant immediately – after all, there’s no safe amount of time a baby can be locked inside a car on a hot day, and the temperature in Tampa that day was 72 – plenty warm enough to be dangerous.
However, the prisoners had a more elegant, albeit a slightly more criminal, solution to the problem, according to Newsweek. A coat hanger was produced and, within seconds, the door was open and the baby was free. Mom Shadow Lantry was impressed with how quickly the inmates were able to break in.
“Them prisoners bust that s**t right open, so thank god for the criminals in the world.”
Lantry posted a video of the rescue on Facebook.
As for the baby, Dallas, she sat calmly in her car seat while the whole thing was going on. Only afterward, when everyone started to make a fuss over her, did she get confused and start to cry.
As for the prisoners, Sheriff Chris Nocco said that guards generally try to limit prisoners’ contact with the general public when they’re on work release to none at all, and they certainly wouldn’t be allowed to mess with someone else’s property. But Nocco explained that all of these men were low-risk offenders, in for minor crimes, and didn’t present a security risk.
“There’s only a very small percentage of those criminals out there that want to fight us and want to attack us, but a lot of them, like these individuals, they know they made bad mistakes, bad choices but they want to do the right thing in life.”
It remains unclear as of this writing whether any of the prisoners involved in Dallas’ rescue, including the one who actually got the door open, were doing time for breaking into vehicles.