Sept 24 (Reuters) - Authorities were searching on Monday for a convicted murderer who escaped from a Mississippi prison after breaking into a prison employee's house and stealing two guns and a truck, a corrections spokeswoman said.

Michael Dowda, 48, was discovered missing from the Mississippi State Penitentiary in Parchman on Saturday, corrections officials said. He had been on a maintenance work detail and was last seen wearing state-issued green and white striped pants and a white prison shirt.

Dowda, who is serving a life sentence for a 1998 murder conviction, is considered armed and dangerous. Before fleeing, he broke into a safe inside a house on the prison grounds and took two handguns, a department statement said.

Officials said he was believed to be driving a white truck that he also stole from the corrections employee's home.

Corrections spokeswoman Tara Booth said authorities were still investigating how Dowda engineered the breakout.

According to local media, Dowda was found guilty in the November 1996 shooting death of his girlfriend. (Reporting by Colleen Jenkins; Editing by Doina Chiacu)

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