MORGANTOWN, Pa. — Nine teenagers who escaped from a detention center in Pennsylvania after overpowering staff and crawling under a fence were captured less than 12 hours later, state police said Monday.
All will be charged with escape and some may face other charges.
“It probably was planned, but poorly planned,” said Pennsylvania State Police Trooper David Beohm.
Beohm said the first four were taken into custody shortly before 6 a.m. after they went to a residence and knocked on the door. They turned themselves in because they were cold and tired, Beohm said.
The other five were captured after police received a report of a stolen truck and “a sort of pursuit” took place, Beohm said. Four youths were taken into custody from the vehicle and a fifth, who took off on foot, was caught in a field a short time later.
State and local police were called late Sunday to take control of the juvenile center in Morgantown, about 50 miles (80 kilometers) northwest of Philadelphia. Beohm said the escape happened after the teen boys, all between the ages of 15 and 17, wrested the keys away from two staff members.
They got out of the building and went to the recreation yard, where they found a spot to crawl under the fence, Beohm said. They were captured about four miles from the detention center.
Abraxas Academy is a secure residential treatment program providing “specialized care for delinquent male youth between the ages of 14 to 18 in 9th grade or above,” according to the facility's website.
The escape follows the capture of an escaped murderer who eluded Pennsylvania authorities for several days despite an extended manhunt.
Beohm said the teenagers likely didn't have the desperation or motivation of someone like Danilo Souza Cavalcante, a murderer with a life sentence who escaped from a Pennsylvania jail and eluded law enforcement for two weeks before his capture on Sept. 13.
“I figured we’d catch these kids because they are not as resilient” as Cavalacante, Beohm said at a press conference.
Cavalacante escaped from the Chester County jail in southeastern Pennsylvania on Aug. 31 by crab-walking up between two walls that were topped with razor wire, and then jumping from the roof.