A man remains at large after escaping from police custody while he was being treated at Mount Sinai Beth Israel Hospital in New York, according to a Thursday ABC report.
In an escape that an ABC news anchor described as being as if it were “pulled straight out of a Hollywood movie,” a 44-year-old New York man, Yenchun Chen, reportedly used towels to rappel down the side of the hospital from his room on the fifth floor. The effort apparently worked, as Chen successfully escaped from police custody and remains missing.
Citing sources familiar with the events, ABC reported that, on Wednesday, Chen had asked for multiple towels, claiming he wanted to take a shower. However, when police officers noticed the open window and that the man had disappeared, they surmised that he had used the towels as a makeshift rope, tying the ends together, to rappel down the side of the building.
The working theory is that Chen rappelled down to the second floor of the hospital, alighting on an air conditioner unit before proceeding to make his escape down to the street via a ladder.
Police suggest that, from there, he simply entered a taxi and rode away.
ABC correspondent Janice Yu spoke to a Mount Sinai Beth Israel Hospital nurse who expressed his bewilderment at the events.
“It was kind of scary when I heard about having a prisoner escape through the window. I was shocked that it happened,” the nurse said, standing outside the hospital.
According to the police, Chen is a large man. He stands at 6'3 and weighs approximately 250 pounds. He additionally sports tattoos on his left arm and hand.
A full investigation is ongoing regarding the nature of his escape as well as why he was kept at Mount Sinai Beth Israel instead of a hospital ward facility such as Bellevue Hospital.
Why was Chen in the hospital?
According to ABC, Chen had initially been brought to the hospital after experiencing a cardiac issue last Friday.
Police say he had been arrested prior to that for criminal possession of a controlled substance.