Police seek 7 escapees from Hickey 11 youth offenders fled detention center

September 09, 1992|By Michael James | Michael James,Staff Writer

Seven juvenile offenders remained on the run last night after an escape from the Charles H. Hickey Jr. School in Baltimore County, where 11 teen-agers overpowered staff members and broke out of their detention unit yesterday.

The youths, ranging in age from 15 to 18, pushed a male staff member, took his keys and grabbed a phone from a female staffer trying to call for help, said Sgt. Gregory M. Shipley, a state police spokesman.

Police said the teen-agers were at the school for juvenile delinquents for offenses including auto theft, armed robbery, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle and kidnapping.

Four of the juveniles were caught within an hour of the 6:50 a.m. escape, juvenile services officials said.

The 11 youths were housed in a lower-security "cottage" at the Cub Hill school when they escaped, said Jacqueline Lampell, a spokesman for the state Department of Juvenile Services.

The area where the youths escaped from is not fenced in, as are some other areas of the school, Ms. Lampell said.

Each of the cottage detention units -- while not housing serious offenders -- is monitored by members of the staff, Ms. Lampell said.

Police said they do not believe any of the youths have weapons. One of the youths who was captured has been charged as an adult with escape and at least one other has been returned to the school.

Escapes used to be a chronic problem at Hickey. In 1987 and 1988, there were 174 and 187 escapees respectively. But by August 1989, after hiring a security consultant, the number dropped to 135 for the year and plunged to a mere 16 in 1990.

On Sept. 1, 1991, a private Colorado firm, Rebound Inc., took over operation of the school. A figure for the total number of escapees at the school since Rebound took over was not available yesterday from juvenile services officials. But Sun newspaper clippings show at least 48 juveniles have escaped from Hickey since the firm took over.

"This was an unusual number [of escapees] for a single incident," Ms. Lampell said. State police and Baltimore County police were continuing the search for the missing juveniles last night.

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