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Escaped convict Danelo Cavalcante armed, police warn as manhunt intensifies


(NEW YORK) — Pennsylvania authorities warned that escaped convicted murderer Danelo Cavalcante was armed, as they pursued him through the town of South Coventry in the early hours of Tuesday.

“He is armed. Residents in the area are asked to lock all doors and windows, secure vehicles, and remain indoors. Do not approach. Call 911 if seen,” Pennsylvania State Police officials wrote in a social media post.

Police said they were pursuing the escaped inmate in the area near Ridge, Coventryville and Daisy Point roads in Chester County, police said.

Authorities earlier had said they didn’t have a defined search area, who has been on the run since he broke out of a Pennsylvania prison 12 days ago.

Investigators had believed Cavalcante is in Chester County, Pennsylvania, but “always consider other options,” Pennsylvania State Police Lt. Col. George Bivens said at a Monday news conference.

Bivens noted that Cavalcante’s sister chose not to help in the investigation, and because she has an overstay status, she has been entered into a deportation proceeding and is being detained.

Police said Monday they’re concerned Cavalcante will try to steal another car and they’re urging the public to check their home surveillance videos and keep their houses and cars secured.

This comes after Cavalcante, 34, snuck through a perimeter guarded by hundreds of officers, stole a van, altered his appearance and drove miles north where he tried to contact two former work colleagues.

Cavalcante was spotted late Saturday in East Pikeland Township, more than 20 miles from where officials thought they had him pinned down in the Longwood Gardens, a sprawling horticulture attraction about 5 miles southwest of the prison he escaped from in Pocopson Township, Bivens said Sunday.

“No perimeter is 100% secure, ever. I’m not going to make excuses. I wish it had not happened,” Bivens said. “This is a minor setback. We’ll get him. It’s only a matter of time.”

Bivens said Cavalcante allegedly stole a white Ford work van from Baily’s Dairy sometime Saturday night about three-fourths of a mile from the perimeter around Longwood Gardens. He said the van was unlocked and the keys were left inside, enabling Cavalcante to easily steal the vehicle.

The van was found abandoned at 10:40 a.m. Sunday in a field behind a barn in East Nantmeal Township, Bivens said, adding that the van had run out of fuel.

Officials released still photos from a video doorbell camera of a clean-shaven Cavalcante wearing a green hooded sweatshirt over a dark baseball hat.

Bivens said the video was taken at 9:52 p.m. Saturday at the home in East Pikeland Township, near East Nantmeal Township, that belongs to a man who once worked with Cavalcante.

“He spoke with the individual via a video doorbell at that residence and inquired about meeting with that individual,” Bivens said.

He said Cavalcante’s former colleague was not home at the time. He said that when the homeowner returned to the residence he checked the footage on his surveillance camera and called local police.

At the time he was recorded on the doorbell camera, Cavalcante was seen driving the white Ford van.

Cavalcante, according to Bivens, also showed up at another former work colleague’s home in nearby Phoenixville around 10:07 p.m. Saturday.

“That associate was not home but a female resident observed Cavalcante and called her friend. That friend responded to the residence and eventually placed a call to local police,” Bivens said.

State police were not notified for at least two hours after Saturday night’s sighting, officials said.

There have not been any more sightings since the doorbell camera video, officials said.

Bivens said Cavalcante is showing his desperation by attempting to contact associates.

“He’s absolutely looking for support. He needs that support and doesn’t have it,” Bivens said.

Cavalcante escaped Aug. 31 from Chester County Prison, where he was being held after being convicted of stabbing his former girlfriend to death in broad daylight, officials said. He’s alleged to have sneaked out of the prison by “crab walking” up a wall in a prison recreation yard, pushing his way through razor wire and accessing the roof, where he climbed down and made his getaway an hour before prison guards realized he was missing, officials said.

Authorities believe Cavalante followed the same route and method of escape as an inmate who bolted from the prison in May.

Police have received numerous reports of sightings, mostly in the Pocopson Township area.

Law enforcement warned that Cavalcante should be considered “extremely dangerous.”

Bivens said he has no “substantive proof” that Cavalcante has obtained a weapon, but noted that investigators believe he has burglarized several homes.

He said police are “authorized to use deadly force” if Cavalcante is cornered and refuses to surrender peacefully.

Authorities stressed that anyone who helps Cavalcante will be prosecuted.

A $25,000 reward is available.

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