(NEW YORK) — Pennsylvania authorities are warning that escaped convicted murderer Danelo Cavalcante is armed with a .22-caliber rifle with a scope and flashlight that he allegedly stole from a resident’s garage overnight.
Around 10 p.m. Monday, that resident called police to say Cavalcante had entered his garage and grabbed a rifl, Pennsylvania State Police Lt. Col. George Bivens said at a news conference Tuesday.
The homeowner, who was in the garage at the time, fired several shots at Cavalcante with a pistol, but Cavalcante fled, Bivens said.
Cavalcante’s prison shoes were recovered Monday night and another resident said a pair of work boots were stolen from her porch, Bivens said.
“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 said.
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Authorities said they’re now searching a large, wooded area for Cavalcante, 34, who broke out of a Pennsylvania prison 12 days ago.
Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro on Tuesday defended police efforts to recapture him.
“Law enforcement, I think, has responded well to each and every piece of information that we got, and I’m confident we’re gonna get this guy,” Shapiro said.
The governor also urged Cavalcante to turn himself in, saying, “The gig is almost up.”
Shapiro called Cavalcante’s escape “unacceptable” and promised a full investigation into how it occurred
Police said Monday they were 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 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.
Bivens said 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.
“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 on 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.
The van was found abandoned and out of fuel at 10:40 a.m. Sunday in a field behind a barn in East Nantmeal Township, Bivens said.
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.
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.
Bivens said on Monday 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.
Cavalcante escaped on 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.
Bivens 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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