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Chester County Press

Search for Cavalcante now in South Coventry Township

09/12/2023 04:50PM ● By Richard Gaw

At a press conference held at 9:30 a.m. on Sept. 12, Pa. State Police Lt. Col. George Bivens said there were a number of new developments in the investigation to capture escaped fugitive Danelo Cavalcante that occurred on the evening of Sept. 11 in South Coventry Township.

At about 8 p.m. along Fairview Road in the township west of Route 100, a motorist spotted a man later identified as Cavalcante, crouching near the woods. A large number of state troopers and a border patrol tactical team were immediately used to form a perimeter in the area, and during their search, they observed footprints that matched the footprints of the prison shoes Cavalcante had been wearing. Soon after, both of his prison shoes were located. Police said that another resident in the immediate area reported that a pair of work boots had been stolen from the porch of her home.

The tracking of Cavalcante continued to the north and at 10:10 p.m., a call was received from a resident of the 3500 block of Coventryville Road indicating that Cavalcante had entered his garage while the resident was in the garage. Cavalcante then grabbed a 22-caliber Ruger rifle with a scope and a flashlight that was leaning against a wall in the garage, prompting the homeowner to draw a pistol and fire several times at Cavalcante while the fugitive fled the scene. Bivens said that he has no reason to believe that Cavalcante was injured during the shooting.

Overnight, searches were underway in the immediate area of the home that involved tactical teams from several agencies including the Pa. State Police; the FBI; the Bureau of Tobacco, Alcohol and Firearms; Border Patrol; U.S. Marshals and police from Chester County and throughout Pennsylvania, as well as aviation resources, canines, mounted patrols and several other assets. 

“Upwards of 500 law enforcement officers are engaged in securing the perimeter and conducting the searches,” Bivens said. “We are mobilizing additional resources as we speak and are planning for an extended operating period if necessary.”

The current search perimeter now includes Route 23 to the north, Route 100 to the east, Fairview and Nantmeal roads to the south and Iron Bridge Road to the west. Bivens described the size of the search area as being close to three miles east to west, and two- to two-and-a-half miles north to south, and its terrain is both hilly and wooded.

Tracking Cavalcante down, Bivens said, “is a matter of sweeping methodically through the woods, checking buildings and so forth. We don’t have the luxury of just charging the nearest trail and hoping that’s the direction he went.” 

The township is located approximately 20 miles north of the area of Longwood Gardens, near where Cavalcante was generally hiding since his escape from the Chester County Prison on Aug. 31, and near where he stole a 2020 Ford Transit van from Bailys Dairy on Sept. 9 and drove to two homes in East Pikeland Township to seek assistance from two former co-workers who live in the vicinity.

All schools in the Owen J. Roberts School District were closed on Sept. 12.