(NEWSER) – Three dangerous inmates are still at large after breaking out of a maximum-security jail in California on Friday—and authorities now suspect the escape had been planned for months.

Authorities believe the men broke out of the Orange County Central Men's Jail in Santa Ana soon after the 5am head count, giving them a 16-hour head start, the AP reports. The inmates, who had somehow obtained tools, went through a hole in the wall behind some beds in a 68-man dorm and had to cut through steel bars while making their way through the building's plumbing system, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Authorities say they made it to the roof and used a makeshift rope to rappel down four stories to freedom, still wearing their orange prison jumpsuits.


Read the full story on Newser.com

Photo: Orange County Sheriff's Department