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Teen escapes from Armstrong courthouse

Renatta Signorini
| Friday, May 21, 2010

A Sagamore 16-year-old escaped from the Armstrong County courthouse Friday around 8 a.m.

The teen was scheduled for a detention hearing in front of Judge Kenneth Valasek at 8:30 a.m.

County deputy chief probation officer Regina Himes said the teen was in the custody of officers from George Junior Republic, who had brought him to the courthouse for the hearing. Himes said the teen, who was not handcuffed or shackled and was wearing street clothes, was permitted to use a third-floor bathroom at the courthouse and escaped through a window.

George Junior Republic is a treatment facility for disadvantaged males in Grove City, according to its website.

The hearing was related to an incident on Thursday in which the teen allegedly broke into B&J Service Station in Dayton and stole cigarettes. According to a criminal affidavit, the teen doused the store with motor oil and attempted to set it and a gas pump on fire.

According to state police, the teen stole a truck from the service station and eventually crashed into another vehicle along Route 85 in front of DiMaio's Market in Cowanshannock Township. Police said the teen was driving under the influence.

The incidents occurred between 6 and 7:10 a.m. Thursday, according to a criminal affidavit.

A representative from George Junior could not be immediately reached.

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