ATHENS, Greece (AP) — His first two prison escapes in Greece were spectacular and successful, aboard helicopters chartered by accomplices. But when Albanian inmate Alket Rizaj tried to break out of another lockup — this time by taking hostages — his gamble just didn't pay off.
After a 24-hour standoff Rizaj, a convicted contract killer, surrendered to police at Malandrino prison in central Greece on Sunday, and his captives were freed or escaped unharmed, Justice Ministry officials said on condition of anonymity in keeping with regulations.
The drama began around 9 p.m. on Saturday, when Rizaj and two fellow Albanian prisoners claimed to be heavily armed and demanded a getaway car from the prison, the officials said. But in the end they only turned out to have two handmade knives.
"This time I did not make it," the officials quoting Rizaj as telling police when he gave up.
Rizaj is famous for having escaped twice from the maximum-security Korydallos prison with his fellow inmate Vassilis Paleokostas in Athens, in 2006 and 2009.
Both times helicopters chartered by accomplices hovered over the prison's courtyard while the escapees climbed up to freedom on rope ladders. Rizaj was eventually recaptured, but Paleokostas remains at large.