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Pennsylvania police capture escaped prison inmate on the run for over a week

Jul 15, 2023, 7:39 PM

(CNN) — Michael Burham, the inmate with survivalist skills who escaped a prison in Pennsylvania, has been captured in a wooded area near Warren after more than a week on the run, authorities announced Saturday.

A Warren County official told CNN they “are preparing an isolation cell at Warren County Jail” for Burham but do not intend to keep him past Sunday. It is unclear where Burham will be transferred after that, but he will not be housed in the prison where he escaped, officials said.

Burham broke out of Warren County Prison in northwestern Pennsylvania shortly before midnight on July 6 using tied-up bedsheets and elevating himself on exercise equipment, according to a county spokesperson.

Authorities had described him as a “dangerous” inmate with military experience and survivalist knowledge after his escape from the 140-capacity facility that holds inmates awaiting trial or who are sentenced to two years or less behind bars.

His capture happened after Pennsylvania State Police got a call to their tip line Saturday from residents reporting “a suspicious individual” before 4 p.m. ET in Warren County’s Conowingo Township, Lt. Col. George Bivens said during a Saturday news conference.

A married couple went outside to check on their dog after hearing the animal barking near the back of their property, Bivens said. They rode over in a golf cart, found Burham and asked what he was doing there, Bivens said.

Burham, who was dirty and wearing his prison pants inside out, told the couple he was camping, Bivens said.

“The owner of the property recognized him, got his wife back into the golf cart and drove away from there so that he could immediately contact us as Burham fled into the woods,” Bivens said.

Authorities say escaped homicide suspect may be getting desperate living in wilderness

Law enforcement, using police dogs, tracked him through the woods. Burham was taken into custody shortly before 6 p.m., authorities said.

Burham didn’t have any weapons or anything in his possession when he was captured, Bivens said, adding authorities plan to scour the area to look for any possessions he may have left in the woods.

Footage from law enforcement shows the moments after Burham was captured. The inmate, who looked disheveled and was wearing a light-colored T-shirt and pants, had his hands behind his back and was flanked by nearly a dozen officers in camouflaged gear on a road in a wooded area.

Bivens described Burham’s appearance at the time of his capture as looking “tired and worn out” as well as dirty and wet.

During the weeklong search for the inmate, police found stockpiles of supplies, including clothing, food and other items in a wooded area near the city of Warren that they said they believed were used by Burham, authorities said Thursday.

Bivens described the inmate’s capture as “a great relief.”

“All of us were always concerned that we would end up with a citizen harmed in some way, or even one of the officers harmed,” he said. “You’re always worried about things like that, so to not have that play out, it’s a good day.”

Authorities said they are continuing to investigate whether Burham got any assistance while he was on the run.

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Pennsylvania police capture escaped prison inmate on the run for over a week