Armed Pennsylvanians Reportedly Patrolling For Escaped Murderer, Despite Police Warnings

(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Font Size:

State police in Pennsylvania are warning citizens to leave the manhunt for escaped murderer Danelo Cavalcante to professionals after a host of concerned amateur sleuths have descended on the area in pursuit of the fugitive.

“They’re not helping us in any way, and in fact, they become a hindrance,” Pennsylvania State Police Lt. Col. George Bivens remarked Monday at a press conference. “Some of our resources have to be diverted at times when they insert themselves into a scene. It’s not helpful, I wish they wouldn’t do it, I’ve asked that they not. But I can’t stop them, in some cases, from doing it.”

Video shared on social media Sunday showed an armed resident in a Jeep reportedly searching for Cavalcante. When asked if he normally drives around with his guns in his vehicle, the resident replies, “Only when dudes are running around with 20 grand price tags on them.” (RELATED: Escaped Murderer Now Armed After Latest Sighting, Police Say)

The reward for information leading to Cavalcante’s capture was increased to $25,000 on Monday.

Ryan Davis, 45, crossed state lines to join in the hunt for Cavalcante. A Maryland native, Davis spent hours in Chester County operating a drone, allowing him to scan the cornfields and thickets of rural Pennsylvania in search of the escaped convict, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

“You’re just looking for movement,” Davis said of his strategy, according to the outlet. “A path through a cornfield, or a shirt. Contrasts, that’s what I was looking for, to see if this guy was just hiding around a corner.”

In addition to searching for Cavalcante, Davis is also using his drone to obtain footage for true crime YouTubers, podcasters and independent journalists who have been following the investigation, the outlet noted.

Though armed, Davis has no plans to be a vigilante, telling the outlet he would first alert police if he encountered the escaped murderer. “I’m not there to go shooting people — you could have the totally wrong person. The whole idea of having a weapon is to be sure to keep yourself safe and the people around you,” he stated, per the Inquirer.

Elsewhere, local resident Nancy Shaw was scanning the area, armed not only with a gun, but with her mastiff, Bubba. Shaw told the Inquirer that she came across tracks leading into a cornfield that she believed were Cavalcante’s. “People don’t do that around here, because that’s farmer’s gold,” she observed of the tracks.

Shaw further revealed that when she alerted state police to the tracks, her suspicions “fell on deaf ears,” per the outlet. Though Shaw appeared disappointed by the indifference, she told the Inquirer she wasn’t surprised, noting the rural community doesn’t rely on law enforcement as the response can sometimes take hours.

Other citizens, like Chuck Walcott, are more interested in watching the manhunt unfold. “I just went out to see what was going on. I was basically sitting back and watching the police, seeing what they were doing, and talking to some officers,” he told the Inquirer.

While Bivens told reporters state police have not made any arrests, he warned against citizens injecting themselves too much into a police investigation. “They’re interfering,” he said of the sleuths, according to the Inquirer. “We don’t want an unfortunate incident to cause anyone to get hurt.”