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9 teens captured after escape from Pennsylvania detention facility

Rob Tornoe, The Philadelphia Inquirer on

Published in News & Features

PHILADELPHIA — Nine teenagers have been captured after escaping from Abraxas Academy in New Morgan, Berks County, police said.

According to police, four of the nine escapees turned themselves in at a house on Oak Grove Road around 5:45 a.m. Monday. Pennsylvania State Police Trooper David Beohm told reporters the teenagers were “done, they were tired, they were cold.”

The five other teens stole a pickup truck at 6:36 a.m., Beohm said, but four were apprehended after a brief police pursuit. The fifth took off into a field but was quickly taken into custody. No injuries were reported, and all nine were captured about four miles from the detention facility.

The nine teens, all between ages 15 and 17, will be charged with escape, and some will face other charges.

“Any crimes they committed, they’re going to be charged with,” Beohm said.

Police said one teen was from Berks County, one was from Lehigh County, and the rest were from the Harrisburg area.

Officials said the nine teens overtook two female staffers at the prison around 8 p.m. Sunday. One suffered minor injuries during a fight over the keys.


“These nine kids all kind-of banded together,” Beohm told reporters Wednesday morning. “There was a little struggle that happened there, one [staffer] suffered some minor injuries to her hand, because they ripped the keys out of her hand.”

The escape happened less than a week after troopers captured Danilo Cavalcante, a convicted murder who broke out of the Chester County Prison on Aug. 31. Cavalcante evaded police for two weeks before finally being caught in northern Chester County on Wednesday.

“I figured we’d catch these kids, because they’re probably not as resilient as a 30-some-year-old, however old he was, that knows he’s going to jail for the rest of his life,” Beohm said.

As with the search for Cavalcante, the manhunt for the nine teens threatened to disrupt life around New Morgan, which is just north of the Chester County border.

The Twin Valley School District closed schools Monday. After-school activities were also canceled.

Abraxas Academy, a private facility, has a history of disturbances, according to the Reading Eagle, which reported that police from three counties dealt with a riot in July.

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