Police: Fugitive on child-sex charges stole, used dad's guns

Liz Evans Scolforo

Police said a fugitive on the run from York County child-sex charges stole guns from his parents' home and pointed one of them at a family member of his alleged victim, which is what spurred a six-hour manhunt in York Township about two weeks ago.

Austin Michael Craley

Austin Michael Craley, 20, is armed and should be considered dangerous if confronted, according to York Area Regional Police.

Just after 6 a.m. April 15, Craley went to the York Township home of his 14-year-old alleged victim and, using house keys he had previously been given, tried to break in, according to charging documents filed by Regional Detective Donald Hopple Jr.

A man who lives there went to the front door to investigate after hearing a noise and saw Craley, documents state. The fugitive had already used a key to unlock the door knob and was trying to unlock a deadbolt when the man yelled through the door, according to documents.

Craley responded to the man's yelling by pulling a handgun from his waistband and pointing it at the man through the door window, Hopple wrote. Craley then ran off, police said; he was wearing a skull bandanna that covered most of his face, a black hooded sweatshirt with the hood pulled up over his head and a brown jacket.

Missing guns: Police went to the nearby home of Craley's parents at Royal Court at Waterford to look for him, but his parents said they hadn't seen him in more than two weeks, according to documents. Craley's parents allowed officers to search the home.

Police: Gun-toting fugitive prompted 6-hour York Twp. manhunt

After officers told them Craley had allegedly just pointed a gun at someone, Craley's father discovered three of his handguns had been stolen — a Ruger .40-caliber, a Ruger 9 mm and a Sig Sauer .380, according to charging documents. Police allege it was Craley who stole those firearms.

That's when the manhunt for Craley began. Officers searched on the ground for the fugitive, and a state police helicopter searched the wooded areas by air, police said.

On Wednesday, Hopple filed two more sets of charges against Craley. For the alleged incident at the 14-year-old's home, Craley is facing charges of retaliation against a witness or victim, attempted burglary, attempted simple assault, reckless endangerment and making terroristic threats.

Police said they will file charges against anyone who helps Craley hide from authorities as well as anyone who gives officers false information that would help prevent Craley's capture.

Anyone who sees Craley or knows his whereabouts is urged to call 911 immediately.

Hearing no-show: Craley had a pretrial conference scheduled for April 13 in York County Court before Common Pleas Judge Maria Musti Cook, and a bail hearing was scheduled for that proceeding as well, according to court records.

Those records indicate that on April 4, the York County District Attorney's Office filed a motion to have his $15,000 bail revoked.

Craley failed to appear at that hearing, according to court records, at which point the judge issued a warrant for his arrest.

Austin Craley, who is facing child-sex charges, was armed when he went to the home of his 14-year-old alleged victim Friday morning. It prompted a six-hour manhunt in York Township that included a helicopter search, police said.

In that case, he is charged with statutory sexual assault, indecent assault and corruption of minors.

Bail revoked: Deputy prosecutor Kara Bowser filed the bail-revocation petition, alleging Hopple learned on April 2 that Craley and the girl were still seeing each other and having sex after he had been charged and released on bail, according to the motion.

Craley violated his bail conditions by continuing to have contact with the girl, the motion states. Judge Cook granted the bail revocation.

Criminal defendants' bail conditions regularly include no-contact provisions with their alleged victims.

The allegations: Craley's charging documents allege he began a sexual relationship with the girl when she was 13 and he was 19.

Those documents state Craley took the girl out of town and out of state on a couple of occasions without her mother's knowledge.

The girl initially denied she and Craley were sexually involved, but later admitted it, according to documents.

— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at levans@yorkdispatch.com.