Escaped Prisoners Pose Security Threat

Once again in Port Au Prince today, looting and lawlessness spread like a virus. CBS News national correspondent Byron Pitts reports, for most of the people, the options are few: either steal or go hungry. The spoils of their efforts this time: rancid meat from a warehouse.

Those stealing food and water - or toothpaste to smear beneath their noses to mask the stench of rotting human flesh - are the least to worry the authorities.

Of greater concern? The hardened criminals who roam the streets after the largest prison break in Haiti's history.

Complete Coverage: Devastation in Haiti

When the earthquake hit last Tuesday more than 3,000 inmates escaped from the National Prison of Haiti, in Port-Au-Prince. Reports are they took prison uniforms, prison vehicles, guns and ammunition. They killed at least four guards.

More of Byron Pitts in Haiti:
Haitians Clash with U.N. Troops
"60 Minutes:" Tragedy in Haiti
Medical Help Scarce in Haiti

CBS News obtained exclusive pictures of the inmates who set the prison on fire and ran to freedom. Only a handful of the prisoners have been recaptured.

Haiti Quake: How You can Help

"These inmates pose a real that for the people of Port-Au-Prince," Pitts asked.

"Yes, yes. That's a fact," said Jean Joseph Cande of the U.N.

"Just roaming around with guns?"

"Yes, they are very dangerous."

Whether it's the U.N. or relief agencies from around the world - few if any -humanitarian groups now travel around without armed security. Experts say the gang members who escaped Haiti's prison pose a special danger.

"We're talking about people who kidnapped children - who mutilated captives," said Robert Perito, Director of the Haiti Program at the United States Institute of Peace. "These are very dangerous people."
  • Byron Pitts

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