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Aussie Inmates Use 'Breaking Bad' Method to Spark Flames

Breaking Bad Season 5 Episode 13 Walt - H 2013
Ursula Coyote/AMC
Bryan Cranston in "Breaking Bad"

Australian prisoners are taking a page out of the Walter White playbook and using frayed wires from TV sets to light cigarettes – resulting in more than 400 broken televisions.

Is Breaking Bad making bad guys ... badder?

Inmates in an Australia prison are taking a page out of Walter White's (Bryan Cranston) playbook and using frayed wires to light their cigarettes -- and they have destroyed hundreds of prison TVs in the process. Australian media is crediting Breaking Bad with popularizing the method.

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Walt used a similar technique in last year's episode "Buyout" to escape from a pair of plastic zip ties. (See the scene here.) Inmates have taken to using the frayed chords of their television sets to light cigarettes, reports Australia's News.com.au.

Lighters and matches are banned in the prison, as is smoking in cells. Officials say 425 television sets have had to be replaced and an additional 131 repaired over the past 12 months because of it. Inmates can rent sets for $2 a week, but officials are reconsidering the policy.

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This isn't the first time Breaking Bad has inspired real-life criminals. Writer George Mastras recently told The Hollywood Reporter that DEA consultants told the show's makers that they've discovered blue meth on the streets.

"It was probably people just putting food coloring, but you worry sometimes," Mastras said. "But there's nothing we come up with that people aren't figuring out on their own. There are plenty of minds being put to bad use out there."

E-Mail: Aaron.Couch@THR.com
Twitter: @AaronCouch