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Police: 9 Juveniles Who Escaped From a Berks County Detention Center Are in Custody

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By Associated Press

September 18, 2023

The teen boys, all between the ages of 15 and 17, escaped from Abraxas Academy in Morgantown late Sunday evening after creating a disturbance.

MORGANTOWN — Nine teenagers who escaped from a detention center in Berks County 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 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 staff.

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 last week’s capture of escaped murderer Danelo Cavalcante, who eluded authorities for several days despite an extended manhunt throughout Chester County.

But Beohm said the teenagers likely didn’t have the desperation or motivation of someone like Cavalcante, a murderer with a life sentence who escaped from Chester County Prison Aug. 31 and eluded law enforcement for two weeks before his capture last Wednesday.

“I figured we’d catch these kids because they are not as resilient” as Cavalacante, Beohm said at a press conference.

Keystone senior community editor Patrick Berkery contributed to this report.

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