Cheltenham center escapee apprehended

April 04, 2006

An offender who escaped from the Cheltenham Youth Center more than two weeks ago by stealing a volunteer's van and crashing through a fence was apprehended Saturday by state police, authorities said yesterday.

Edward Hopkins, a spokesman for the state Department of Juvenile Services, said police found the 18-year-old in Montgomery County after receiving a tip about where he was staying.

Hopkins did not have information late yesterday on whether the stolen van had been recovered. He said the teenager was taken to an adult jail in Montgomery County.

The teenager had been held at Cheltenham for nearly a month while awaiting a court hearing on car theft and other charges when he escaped March 15. The state had planned to try to move his case to the adult court system.

Juvenile services officials have said the teenager took the van keys from the pocket or purse of a "grandparent volunteer" at the facility.

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