According to state police, Danelo Cavalcante stole a van, drove to the Phoenixville area, and attempted to contact two former co-workers over the weekend.
Authorities continued searching Monday for escaped murderer Danelo Cavalcante, who has eluded capture since breaking out of Chester County Prison on Aug. 31. They said over the weekend that Cavalcante slipped out of the original search area, changed his appearance, stole a dairy delivery van, and tried to contact acquaintances.
Lt. Col. George Bivens of the Pennsylvania State Police said Sunday that Cavalcante stole the unlocked van, which had the keys inside, sometime Saturday night about three-quarters of a mile from the northern perimeter of the search area where hundreds of law enforcement officers had been searching for him.
Baily’s Dairy said on its Facebook page that the delivery van was stolen between 7 and 10 p.m. Saturday “while we were still here working.”
The theft wasn’t noticed for hours, and in the meantime, Cavalcante, 34, traveled more than 20 miles northeast to East Pikeland Township and Phoenixville. Shortly before 10 p.m. Saturday he went to an East Pikeland Township home of a person he had worked with several years ago and asked to meet with him, police said.
The homeowner, who was at dinner with his family and didn’t respond, called police after returning home and reviewing his doorbell video. Shortly after 10 p.m. Saturday, police said, Cavalcante went to the Phoenixville area home of another former work associate, who wasn’t home, police said.
Doorbell video images showed Cavalcante to be now clean-shaven and wearing a yellow or green hooded sweatshirt, black baseball cap, green prison pants and white shoes, police said. The stolen van was found at 10:40 a.m. Sunday in a field behind a barn in East Nantmeal Township, about 15 miles west of Phoenixville.
Cavalcante escaped prison while awaiting transfer to state prison after being sentenced to life for fatally stabbing his ex-girlfriend in 2021. Prosecutors say he wanted to stop her from telling police that he’s wanted in a killing in his home country of Brazil.
Police on Saturday had reported two more confirmed sightings of Cavalcante within the search area around the Longwood Gardens botanical park, the center of the search in recent days. Bivens said Friday that about 400 personnel were taking part in the search, including tactical teams, tracking dogs, and officers on horseback as well as aircraft.
Despite the massive searches, Bivens said the area had some underground tunnels and “very large drainage ditches” that were impossible to secure completely. Police had been planning to use close to 600 personnel Monday for “one massive sweep” of the search area, he said.
Authorities on Friday announced the firing of the prison tower guard on duty when Cavalcante scaled a wall by crab-walking up from the recreation yard, climbed over razor wire, ran across a roof, and jumped to the ground. His escape went undetected for more than an hour until guards took a headcount.
Authorities have described Cavalcante as extremely dangerous. Police are asking anyone with information to call 911. A $20,000 reward is being offered for information leading to his capture.
Check back for updates on this developing story.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.