Home » Escaped Prisoner Danelo Cavalcante Armed With Rifle, Police Searching 8-Square-Mile Area
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Escaped Prisoner Danelo Cavalcante Armed With Rifle, Police Searching 8-Square-Mile Area

GLENMOORE, Pa. (CBS) — As the search for escaped prisoner Danelo Cavalcante is in its 13th day, he is now armed with a .22 caliber rifle stolen from a garage overnight Monday, Pennsylvania State Police said in a news conference Tuesday.

Cavalcante is believed to have discarded a T-shirt and sweatshirt he was wearing and changed footwear since he was last spotted, and officers are searching a roughly eight-square-mile area, State Police Lt. Col George Bivens said.

“He’s killed two people previously, I would suspect that he’s desperate enough to use that weapon,” Bivens said.  

The last description of Cavalcante is that he was shirtless and wearing pants and work boots, Bivens said later on Tuesday.

There was a flurry of activity in the manhunt starting around 8 p.m. Monday when a driver saw a man crouched near the treeline on Fairview Road south of Route 100, Bivens said.

The driver then turned around trying to verify what she saw and the man was gone.

When a border patrol team arrived at the scene, they found footprints matching Cavalcante’s prison shoes, and another resident nearby reported work boots being stolen.

Authorities believe Cavalcante was fleeing from that earlier sighting when he entered the garage of a home near French Creek Elementary School. That’s where the convicted murderer acquired the .22 caliber rifle, which has a scope and flashlight, Bivens said.

It’s unclear if the rifle is loaded, police said.

A green sweatshirt and white T-shirt believed to have been worn by Cavalcante were found near the edge of that home’s driveway.

“In my opinion, I believe it was a crime of opportunity,” Bivens said. “I think he went in there probably trying to hide, the garage door was open, and he didn’t, I believe, recognize that the owner was in there. … Ran for that garage, saw the firearm, grabbed that, encountered the homeowner and fled with the firearm.”

The owner fired multiple shots at Cavalcante but police do not believe the suspect was injured by the gunfire.

Now, the search is focused on an area that is said to be about 3 miles by 2 and a half miles, and is wooded and hilly terrain.

“At this point, I believe he is beyond assistance and he is in that perimeter, and we will actively hunt until we find him,” Bivens said of Cavalcante.  

Images from Chopper 3 showed police tactical vehicles at the elementary school.

“Upwards of 500″ officers are securing the latest perimeter bound by Pennsylvania Route 23 to the north, Route 100 to the East, Fairview and Nantmeal roads to the south, and Iron Bridge and County Park Roads to the west,” Bivens said.

The manhunt closed roads in South Coventry Township and shut down the Owen J. Roberts School District near the search area.

Cavalcante escaped Chester County Prison on Aug. 31 after being sentenced to life without parole for the murder of ex-girlfriend Deborah Brandao.

Residents in the area, whether in the perimeter or not, are asked to secure homes, outbuildings and vehicles, and contact police immediately with tips if they see Cavalcante.

In a news conference, Gov. Josh Shapiro said, “We’re gonna get this guy,” adding that leaders know this is “a moment of deep worry and anxiety” for residents of the state and particularly the neighborhoods around the search area.

“We do feel like we’ve got this suspect contained in an area, we’re putting all of our resources on it, all of our assets are being deployed,” Shapiro said. 

Shapiro declined to provide a cost estimate on the expansive search but had blunt words for anybody who would consider assisting Cavalcante.

“I want to let the public know if you do anything, anything, to try and assist this individual, we will hold you accountable and prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law,” Shapiro said.

A reward for Cavalcante’s capture has increased to $25,000. You can contact the police tipline at 717-562-2987.

Source : CBS News