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Burglary suspect flees from police on frozen river

| Sunday, Feb. 16, 2003

A man wanted for questioning in a burglary sought asylum from police Saturday in a place as chilly as it was conspicuous -- on the half-frozen Allegheny River.

After two hours on the ice, Shawn Oden, 32, of New Kensington, surrendered to Plum police just before 7 p.m. New Kensington police said they will charge Oden with burglary and fleeing police.

Police said they sought Oden for questioning at mid-afternoon yesterday in New Kensington, along Industrial Boulevard. Oden fled, eventually leaping onto a barge docked on the Allegheny. He then jumped onto the ice, trekking at least a mile with a growing phalanx of police and firefighters in tow.

Oden is a suspect in a robbery earlier yesterday at a home in the 1200 block of Woodmont Avenue, New Kensington, police said. Two shotguns, a stereo and a videocassette recorder and a Sony PlayStation were stolen, police said. Oden later was spotted selling a television outside Superior Used Tire, near where the chase began, police said.

During most of the pursuit, Oden stood 50 yards out on the ice, yelling back at police who were trying to persuade him to come back to shore.

Police remained on Barking Road and in brush overlooking the river. Rescue crews were ready, just in case the ice gave way.

At one point, Oden's grandmother grabbed a police bullhorn to coax him back to shore.

"I'd go out on the ice to scare him back in, but he doesn't want to listen," Dorothy Oden, of New Kensington, said.

Plum police Sgt. Lanny Conley said police gave Shawn Oden "a couple options, namely to be evaluated at Forbes Regional Hospital" in Monroeville.

New Kensington police said they haven't yet recovered the shotguns or other items stolen from the Woodmont Avenue burglary.

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