Nightmare is finally over:

Nightmare is finally over:


The capture of Danilo Cavalcante

Danilo Cavalcante, at 5 feet tall, seemed the perfect fit as he wedged himself in the narrow space between the walls in an exercise yard of the Chester County Prison on the morning of August 31.

The convicted murderer then ascended in a crab-walk until he disappeared from the view of a surveillance camera. Cavalcante employed a climbing technique that another inmate used to escape in May. He then ran across a roof, scaled a fence and pushed his way through razor wire to freedom.

During 14 days on the lam, he managed to elude capture despite being spotted numerous times in Chester County, stealing a van, and showing up at the homes of people he knew years ago more than 20 miles outside the search perimeter.

Early Wednesday, a small army of state and federal law enforcement officers, alerted by a tripped burglar alarm just after midnight, captured the inmate – who was armed with a stolen .22 caliber rifle – in a wooded area about 15 miles north of the prison where he had been held. He tried to crawl through thick underbrush and resisted as a police dog bit and subdued him. No shots were fired, police said.

“He scored a snack off of that,” he said. “He was living on granola bars for a little while.”

Police searched the farm multiple times. Lyman and others also checked the property regularly “with guns strapped to us all day long.”

“It’s made us on edge for sure,” he added. “It was nerve racking.”

Late Monday, police received a call from a resident who said a shirtless man entered his garage and grabbed a rifle in Chester County’s South Coventry Township, about 20 miles north of the prison. The homeowner fired his pistol at Cavalcante as he fled. A green sweatshirt and white tee shirt were found near the driveway.

The .22-caliber rifle in the inmate’s possession was equipped with a scope and flashlight, police said.

‘It was just a matter of time’


“They made sure everything was clear and, with that, we were able to get some sleep,” the resident said.

About 500 law enforcement officers – including the Pennsylvania State Police, FBI, ATF, and the US Marshals – searched the area of the shooting. A perimeter was set up stretching several miles in each direction. Dozens of patrol cars and an armored vehicle converged on South Coventry Township.

“We consider him desperate. We consider him dangerous,” Bivens said. “I would suspect that he’s desperate enough to use that weapon.”

On Wednesday morning, Cavalcante did not have a chance to use the rifle.

A huge assist for authorities came from a tripped burglar alarm hours earlier, shortly after midnight, in the perimeter set up in a northern swath of the county.

Search teams were already looking in a nearby area. Cavalcante was not at the site where the alarm was set off but searchers immediately turned their focus to the immediate area, Bivens said.

Just before 1 a.m., a US Drug Enforcement Administration aircraft assisting in the search picked up a “heat signal.”

Searchers converged on the location of the heat source. A lightning storm, however, forced the law enforcement aircraft to leave. Tactical teams on the ground tightly secured “that smaller area as best they could and held it through the storm,” Bivens said.








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