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4 detainees escape from city prison in Berlin

December 28, 2017

A cameraman films the broken ventilation slot at the workshop building on the ground of the Ploetzensee prison in Berlin, Germany, Thursday, Dec. 28, 2017. Berlin's city government says four detainees have escaped from a local prison. The city's justice ministry said Thursday that the men apparently escaped via the car workshop on the grounds of the Ploetzensee prison. It isn't immediately clear when the escape occurred, and the ministry says it is looking into how it happened. (Paul Zinken/dpa via AP)

BERLIN (AP) — Four detainees escaped from a prison in Berlin on Thursday, breaking out part of a concrete wall and climbing over a barbed-wire fence, authorities said.

The men had reported for work at a workshop in Ploetzensee prison before their escape. They broke a concrete pillar between two ventilation gaps, climbed through the hole and then over the nearby fence, city justice ministry spokesman Michael Reis told news agency dpa.

Footage from a camera trained on a nearby gate showed the four men climbing through the hole shortly before 9 a.m., authorities said. The fence appeared to be undamaged. The alarm was raised more than half an hour later.

The men had convictions for theft, burglary and bodily harm, among other things. All arrived at the prison this year. Three were due for release next year and the fourth in 2020.

The prison has 362 inmates.

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