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The police handcuff a prisoner, place him in the back seat of a four-door sedan police car, and close all the doors. The controls in the back seat are disabled so the prisoner cannot use the inside controls to open the back doors, nor operate the back windows. There is a barrier between the front seat and back seat, which prevents the prisoner from accessing the front seat area. The back seat cannot be folded down to access the trunk, and there is no sunroof. The police car cannot be remote-controlled, nor hacked electronically. The police car is of normal construction, with no material defects. The police leave the prisoner alone in the police car. Within five minutes, by himself, without tools, and without damage to the police car, the prisoner escapes from the police car. How? I am looking for the simplest explanation.

Update:

Now that the puzzle is solved, this really happened. A news article is excerpted in the spoiler below. (warning, this gives away the answer entirely)

Police: Handcuffed kidnapping suspect opened cruiser door through open window ... ST. THOMAS — A kidnapping suspect who was handcuffed and placed in the back of a police cruiser managed to escape by reaching through the cruiser’s open window and opening the door, according to court records.

This puzzle was not well-received, so I welcome comments on how it could have been improved.

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    $\begingroup$ Are the windows all closed when the prisoner is put in the back seat?? $\endgroup$ – DEEM Jul 14 at 18:43
  • $\begingroup$ @DEEM rot13(Gur fgngr bs gur jvaqbjf vf abg fcrpvsvrq. Cyrnfr qryrgr lbhe pbzzrag, fvapr vg tvirf njnl gbb zhp) $\endgroup$ – FlanMan Jul 14 at 18:55
  • $\begingroup$ @Rubio There is a particular, intended answer. $\endgroup$ – FlanMan Jul 14 at 18:56
  • $\begingroup$ Jbhyq n pryy cubar pbhag nf n gbby? $\endgroup$ – Rewan Demontay Jul 14 at 19:23
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    $\begingroup$ @FlanMan re your comment "There is a particular, intended answer", that's unfortunate IMO if others work as well as it. (Which maybe they don't. I don't know yet.) $\endgroup$ – msh210 Jul 14 at 20:23
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My guess (take 2):

The puzzle said that the policeman "closed all the doors" but not that the doors were locked. Also, it didn't say that the windows were closed. So the prisoner reached outside the open window, used the outside door handle to open the unlocked door, and then walked away.

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    $\begingroup$ If the doors are not locked, there is still this problem to work out: "The controls in the back seat are disabled so the prisoner cannot use the inside controls to open the back doors" $\endgroup$ – FlanMan Jul 14 at 22:34
  • $\begingroup$ @FlanMan answer revised $\endgroup$ – JS1 Jul 14 at 23:50
  • $\begingroup$ It'd be really difficult to do with his hands handcuffed behind his backs, but it's still feasible. $\endgroup$ – Rewan Demontay Jul 14 at 23:59
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The prisoner had a heart attack and died. His body will remain but his soul will no longer be a prisoner of his mortal coil, or the police car. I guess you can insert any particular religion to extrapolate the specifics of that departure.

So we are clear, if the intended answer involves the windows being "left down" I will be pretty upset.

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  • $\begingroup$ @FlanMan the reason the "window down" answer is aggravating is just that it's a blatant piece of information you left out. There's plenty of people around here that enjoy that sort of thing but I think it makes for an unsatisfying solution. Also... I've seen squad cars with permanent cages on the back windows, but that's besides the point. $\endgroup$ – Dark Thunder Jul 15 at 13:58
  • $\begingroup$ (You can't $@$ping someone unless they're already involved with the post you're commenting on (by having written it, edited it, or already commented on it). If the name doesn't auto-complete when you start typing @name it's a very good bet they're not going to get pinged by your message. If you want to be sure FlanMan gets your comment in their inbox, you should put it under the question, not under your answer.) $\endgroup$ – Rubio Jul 18 at 0:08
  • $\begingroup$ @Rubio I didn't know that. I'm guessing that sort of thing is hard to change, but pinging the person who asked the question from inside an answer's comments seems like something that should work. I did so to avoid spoilers in the question's comment section... something that I feel is too prevalent. $\endgroup$ – Dark Thunder Jul 19 at 15:45
  • $\begingroup$ For the morbidly curious: the full gory details on when someone gets notified. $\endgroup$ – Rubio Jul 19 at 23:08
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The simplest answer

One of the back window was left open by mistake. So the prisoner escaped

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One possibility:

The city / municipality / country in which this narrative takes place has, at this very moment, disbanded its police force, either as a result of unprompted budget cuts or a government coup. As such, the prisoner has "escaped" from the police car, because he is no longer legally a prisoner, nor is it technically a "police car." The police are also no longer employees of the state, and therefore cannot legally detain the criminal.

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He climbs over the door of the open-top car.

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I have a possible answer.

AS @DEEM mentioned in a comment, it's possible that the windows were open.

Since I need to say HOW that could have occurred I have possible idea on how that's within the bounds of the puzzle. It's probably far-fetched, but it's still a technical possibility.

Since the species of the prisoner is not identified, he could be an alien in a human disguise. This alien has phasing powers like Loki from the MCU. He creates a copy of itself in the front that rolls down the window. Then the prisoner escapes through the open window. No damage has been done and the prisoner has done it all on their own with no tools at all.

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  • $\begingroup$ #1 is close, but please say what the prisoner did next to escape. #2 is not valid, because the puzzle says the prisoner escaped "by himself". $\endgroup$ – FlanMan Jul 14 at 19:13
  • $\begingroup$ Well "break out" doesn't nessecarily imply damange. It's just a common phrase. $\endgroup$ – Rewan Demontay Jul 14 at 19:19
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    $\begingroup$ re "I need to say HOW that could have occurred": I don't see that in the question posed. $\endgroup$ – msh210 Jul 14 at 21:05
  • $\begingroup$ @mah120 It is posed in there. $\endgroup$ – Rewan Demontay Jul 14 at 21:52

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