On Sunday evening Around 20 p.m. local time, nine minors fled from the "Abraxas Academy", a closed facility for young people between the ages of 14 and 18 who had committed multiple offenders in Morgantown, Pennsylvania.
Together, the teenagers overpowered two employees, appropriated the keys and then crawled under a fence to leave the site about 80 kilometers northwest of Philadelphia. But only twelve hours later, everyone was back at the "academy" in Berks County.
As reported by the broadcaster 6ABC, four of the young people are said to have knocked on an apartment door after fleeing and turned themselves in. "The four of them were cold, they were banging on a door, they were completely exhausted," said local police spokesman David Beohm.
The residents of the house then called the police. They were taken back into custody early Monday morning at around six o'clock local time.
Four other runaways were caught after they apparently stole a pick-up truck and fled with it. A teenager probably managed to get out of the vehicle on foot. But he, too, could be put shortly after.
The coup of the kids between the ages of 15 and 17 was probably planned, said federal police officer Beohm, "but poorly planned". Now the runaways would be held accountable for their behavior.
The issue of prison escape is a sensitive one in Pennsylvania, where a convicted murderer recently escaped from a penitentiary and kept authorities on tenterhooks for days before he was caught on September 13.
Beohm suspects that the young people were probably less desperate than Danilo Souza Cavalcante, who is serving a life sentence. "I assumed we'd catch the kids because they're not as resilient."