September 18, 2023
The nine teenage boys who broke out of the Abraxas Academy juvenile detention center in Berks County on Sunday night were all back in custody by 7 a.m. Monday, authorities said.
The teens broke out of the Morgantown facility around 8 p.m. after they overpowered two staff members, stealing their keys, according to multiple media outlets. The boys then exited through a side door, slipped under a fence and fled on foot.
Shortly after their escape, some of the teens attempted to steal a nearby car, but were deterred by its alarm, authorities said. Four of the teenagers were apprehended on Oak Grove Road in Morgantown around 5:45 a.m., Pennsylvania State Police said.
The remaining five were taken into custody about one hour later after police received reports of a stolen pickup truck on Oak Grove Road, about four miles from the detention center, NBC10 reported. The vehicle stopped after a short pursuit. Four of the boys were immediately apprehended; a fifth briefly attempted to flee, but police said none of the boys resisted arrest.
Early reports indicated that the teens' escape followed a riot within the detention center, but authorities said those reports were unfounded, 6ABC reported. The teens were the only ones involved in the incident.
The boys, ages 15 to 17, were being held in the facility for a variety of infractions, including robbery, car theft and firearms violations.
Police strongly encouraged nearby residents to lock up their houses, cars and belongings. None of the teenagers were armed when they left the facility, but police said it was possible they could find or steal weapons while out – not unlike convicted murderer Danelo Cavalcante did last week when he stole a shotgun before being captured and brought back to prison following a 13-day manhunt.