Pennsylvania authorities are searching for a “dangerous” inmate with survivalist skills who they say escaped Warren County Prison by elevating himself on exercise equipment and using tied-up bedsheets to descend from the roof, a county spokesperson said Friday.
Police in the city of Warren said in social media posts that on Friday officials discovered inmate Michael Charles Burham – who was being held on arson and burglary charges and was a suspect in a homicide investigation – had escaped.
Warren police said Burham “was also associated with the prior carjacking and kidnapping of a local couple while trying to escape capture.”
“He is considered very dangerous, and the public is asked to be vigilant and report anything out of the ordinary,” according to police.
Federal, state and local agencies were involved in an expanded search beyond Warren on Saturday as Burham’s whereabouts remained unknown, according to an update from police.
“Pennsylvania State Police have assumed incident command due to geographical jurisdictions and resources as the search expands throughout the county and into areas of NY,” the Saturday update posted on Facebook said.
Warren is in northern Pennsylvania about 18 miles from Jamestown, New York. It is just outside of the Allegheny National Forest.
Burham was last seen wearing an orange and white striped jump suit, a denim jacket and crocs shoes, Warren police said Friday.
In addition to searching on foot and with K-9 units, law enforcement also used all-terrain vehicles, utility terrain vehicles, drones and an aircraft, Warren County spokesperson Cecile Stelter said.
“We have no indication that he’s being assisted by anyone at this point, but he is familiar [with] the area and … he is a survivalist and has survivalist skills,” Stelter said.
“Right now, I believe that all of the resources are being concentrated on recapture and keeping the public safe,” Stelter said. “We do not want people engaging with him in any way.”
Residents in Warren County were advised to check their homes and surveillance cameras for any footage taken between Thursday at 11:30p.m. to Friday at 12:30 a.m. and reach out to police if they see anything suspicious, Stelter said. Hunters should check their game cams, authorities said.
When reached by phone, a representative from Warren County Prison declined to comment.