14 days after escaping from Chester County Prison, convicted murderer Danelo Cavalcante was captured Wednesday morning. Pennsylvania State Police Lt. Col. George Bivens says a Customs and Border Enforcement dog likely saved a violent confrontation with Cavalcante, who was armed after stealing a rifle days earlier. "Yes, he had the firearm with him. Yes, he was a threat. I believe he was taken by surprise and I believe the canines played a large role in him not being able to utilize that firearm," Bivens says. He says just after midnight a home's burglar alarm was activated, prompting searchers to narrow their area. A Drug Enforcement Agency plane detected a heat source on the ground around 1am. Lightning in the area forced that plane to be leave the area, however the plane eventually returned and just after 8 o'clock Bivens says authorities and the dog surprised Cavalcante who tried to escape through the brush. The dog subdued him and Cavalcante was arrested without further incident. He will now be transfered to a state prison to serve the remainder of his life sentence.
The Monroe County man accused of murdering four University of Idaho students last November will appear in an Idaho court today for a hearing. Attorneys for 28-year-old Bryan Kohberger will ask that cameras not be allowed to continue to be used during his proceedings. Some of the victims' family members want them there to ensure accountability but the defense, as well as prosecutors, say cameras could cause bias and impact a trial. Kohberger's attorneys also argue that so far, photographers haven't followed the judge's instruction to not focus solely on him. Kohberger has waived his right to a speedy trial, meaning it's no longer expected to begin October 2nd. The prosecution has asked for the death penalty.
According to AAA East Central, there was essentially no movement in gas prices either in the Lehigh Valley or across the state. In our area, the average price crept just below two cents higher than the previous Tuesday. The price of 3.75 a gallon is six cents less than it was one year ago on the same day. Across the commonwealth, the average price went up less than a penny per gallon to $3.86, which is also six cents less than what it was on September 12 of last year.
Law enforcement officials in Lehigh County hope a new program will help prevent and solve crimes. District Attorney Jim Martin says a cloud-hosted platform will allow residents to register their security cameras to help solve crimes in their area. Martin says currently canvassing for private security cameras near crime scenes is a very time-consuming process. By registering those cameras, Martin says investigators will be able to know almost immediately if there's video evidence exists and who to contact to get it. Martin says registrants' names and video files will be confidential and used only in the event of an investigation and registration will not give live video feeds to law enforcement. Both residential and commercial property owners are encourage to register their security cameras at www.connectlehighcounty.org.
Fans of Wert's Cafe in Allentown will have to find somewhere else to eat for a while. Part of the restaurant's ceiling collapsed on Tuesday. In a social media post, Wert's says nobody was hurt and they're hoping to open for takeout only in a few days and will remain that way during repairs.
Planning Commissioners in Hellertown have moved to approve a preliminary plan for a new micro hospital. The proposal agreed on Tuesday night would push ahead the Lehigh Valley Health Network's bid to convert the former Champion spark plug factory to a three-story building with about 90-thousand square feet of space. The facility would have a full-service emergency department as well as beds for in-house patients who could be transferred to other hospitals for greater needs. Pending further approval, planners say construction could get underway later this year.
Lehighton in Carbon County is now looking for a new police chief. The borough accepted the resignation of Chief Joe Sparich this past Monday night. Sparich resigned citing personal reasons and his last day on the job was last Thursday. Corporal Joseph Broyles is serving as the officer in charge for now.
The Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency is seeking proposals from developers who need to fund housing projects. Officials from the non-profit organization say they'll soon be distributing proceeds from the auction of four-and-a-half-million-dollars of so-called mixed-use development tax credits.
New Lieutenant Governor Tahesha Way is getting right to work fulfilling her duties as second in command in the Garden State. She's serving as Acting Governor through this evening while Governor Murphy is out of state in New Hampshire for a National Governors Association meeting. Meantime, Way announced that Sam Parker will serve as her Chief of Staff. Parker currently serves as the Governor's Director of Appointments and will continue to do both roles.