Police searching for juvenile who escaped from rehab center

John Joyce

The Northern York County Regional Police Department is actively searching for an escaped juvenile patient who walked away from an Alternative Rehabilitation Community Inc.facility at 3299 Susquehanna Trail Sunday afternoon.

Law enforcement officials have not yet commented on the situation, but patrols are out in the area of Westwind Lane and Greenbriar Road in Manchester Township. Several residents have called 911 to report a suspicious person in their back yard, but by the time police arrive the subject is again out of sight.

Initial reports are a Hispanic male about 5 feet 6 inches tall with curly black hair escaped the treatment facility wearing an orange jump suit and was last seen in the area of Greenbriar Road. The juvenile is believed to have left without wearing shoes and might have stripped off his shirt to evade police.

No threat: "I don't believe he is a danger to the community," A.R.C. supervisor Anthony Chase said. He did say that if anyone believes they see the young man, not to confront him. Rather, call the police, Chase said.

"Don't try to stop him. He might put up a fight," Chase said.

The facility: A.R.C. provides individual and family counseling, drug and alcohol rehabilitation and anger management, along with other services. Chase did not say what specific treatment the escaped patient was receiving, but did say that he was court ordered to be there. He is from Berks County and had been at the facility for five days.

"We provide the essential treatment in a group-living atmosphere," Chase said.

A.R.C. is not a secure facility, meaning the doors lock from the outside to prevent intruders, but the residents — Chase refers to them, as "students" — are not under armed guard.

"We have counselors here 24-hours a day," he said. "But we don't have locked doors, so you can just push them from the inside."

Chase said escapes are not uncommon to his facility, the most recent occurring in November 2015, he recalled. But no one was injured and two other students chased after Sunday's escapee in an effort to bring him back. They returned unharmed but empty-handed.

The North York County Regional Police Department could not be reached for comment at the time of this report.

Normally police are forced to bring the escapees back to the facility, and they do not come back on their own. This particular juvenile is bilingual, Chase said, so residents who come across him might have a hard time communicating with him. Again, Chase said it is best not to engage the youth, but to stay back and call the police.

"Some of the students do have anger problems," Chase said. "I don't think he would have a weapon, but some of our students can lose their temper."

Reach John Joyce at jjoyce@yorkdispatch.com