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Key West Escape Artist Fined $60,000 After Disappearing Into Ocean During Halloween Prank

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KEY WEST, Florida -- An escape artist whose dive into the choppy waters of Key West Harbor prompted a two-day search-and-rescue mission now has to watch his money disappear.

A Key West judge today ordered Michael Patrick, who performs as “Patrick the Escape Artist,” to pay 60-thousand dollars restitution for a massive search following his Oct. 31 back-flip into Key West Harbor.

Police found him the next day at a Key West house with his girlfriend, planning, they told The Miami Herald, a “big ta-da.”

The judge found Patrick, who has already served 60-days in jail, guilty of culpable negligence.

Patrick has performed his escape act for the past 15 years at Mallory Square's Sunset Celebration. On Halloween, he back-flipped into the waters. Several audience members dived in when he didn't immediately resurface.

Patrick is now banned from performing at the Sunset Celebration.

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Reader Comments

11 people have commented so far. cloud add your comment

My husband & I saw his act this past summer on a trip to Key west. We thought he was great! Very entertaining, & just a good wholesome show for all ages! We enjoyed it throughouly, but.....after hearing what he did on Halloween, this has changed my opinion of him tremendoulsy. What an awful thing to do to all those people watching his show that night. I am sure they were all very upset & scared that he was possibly hurt or drowned. I am glad he was fined & banned from performing there again. Maybe this will make him think of how bad those people felt that night. Guess its time for him to get a real job now, huh???
   comment# 1   - Jill · Lansing, IL · Jan 23, 2007 @ 6:50pm

My husband and I and friends were there that nite...he even gave me a hug before suddenly jumping in. So, in addition to being scared about his well-being and watching the rescue efforts and the fellow performers crying and jumping in to try to find him, I had to give a sworn police statement and they confiscated my film as evidence. So I just wish I'd have found him first!
   comment# 2   - Sharon · Midland, VA · Apr 1, 2007 @ 5:39pm

I was there that night. He said he was going to disappear, and he disappeared. It was just a show! Get a life, people!
   comment# 3   - jena · tampa, , FL · Apr 2, 2007 @ 3:46pm

I was in Key West when this happened. I witnessed the event from my hotel balcony and video taped the after math. Quite an event! The fine is justified for the amount of time and energy people put in looking for him!
   comment# 4   - Dan · San Diego · Apr 28, 2007 @ 10:29pm

Well I wasn't there, but the guy is an escape artist right? So isn't he supposed to disappear. I think it would have been a little less entertaining if he said he was going to disappear and jumped in only to resurface and swim back to shore. I could do that! So should a man be punished for something he said he was going to do? Just doesn't sound right to me...
   comment# 5   - Anthony · Berlin, Wi. · May 24, 2007 @ 12:15pm

It amazes me how ignorant people can be. Especially people who didn't see the show. I am an escape artist doing a show. I said I was going to disappear and I did. It was the authorities who freaked out and made some very very poor decisions. Who would call in a copter hours after the event to search a couple thousand square feet. Then arrest me with a very clean record and set bail at $50,000. 2nd degree misdemeanor My cellmate had a long record, was caught with pot, crack and a stolen car and had a bail of $15,000 AND was arraigned in days where I was arrained in 27 days which is the max. Then I was labeled as an escape risk because of my occupation. PLEASE. Key West is Bubba city and I guess I'm not Bubba. The whole system is corrupt. Then people freaked out after hearing half of the story. How can you formulate an opinion of what happened after hearing only half the story. Then there's the newspapers. Someone would write an article with half the story right then the next reporter would embellish it with more lies to make it more interesting. Some of the articles made me laugh. AND if I was in trouble I would have been dead because many, many people told me it was a "cluster f***" as far the the authorities go. The angry people of Key West should direct their anger at the fact that the island is filthy dirty, polluted water, unrealistic property taxes and the fact that the large contingence of law enforcment can't wipe the huge drug problem
   comment# 6   - Michael A. Patrick · Los Angeles, Ca. · Jul 23, 2007 @ 6:02pm

Good one Michael...made me laugh! Hope to catch up with you.
   comment# 7   - Rab & Susan....(your old friends from AL) · Scotland · Jul 27, 2007 @ 8:31am

this is the funniest thing i've seen or heard of in a long time great job mike i can see dad laughing now go's to show a disorganized emergency management system in the keys laughs on them by the way you haven't seen the rear orifice with my glasses have ya lol hope to see ya sometime brother love ya
   comment# 8   - clip patrick · saratoga ny · Jun 5, 2008 @ 10:56am

damn 60 k is a bit much. but look at this way. cost more to buy 4 years in the white house. just ask obama and mccain and all u need to do is call ur congress person. dont they have grants for sh@# like this
   comment# 9   - bernie · clover sc · Jun 13, 2008 @ 6:20pm

Sorry this happened to you and that I just found out about it now! On the other hand, I guess it gives you a reason to find a better place to be! Key Wesy has gotten nasty.
   comment# 10   - Annette · Waynesville, North Carolina · Nov 17, 2008 @ 12:16pm

hey u did disappear? I never know where to even look for you? So if by chance you ever look at this again???? I am still in Fl. and it would be nice to c ya BROTHER! that is before we are all dead. never hear from your our brother right here in FLORIDA.
   comment# 11   - Debbi Patrick · jax, florida · Jul 10, 2012 @ 2:04pm
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