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Pennsylvania police say an escaped killer has stolen a van and shaved his facial hair

This image provided by the Pennsylvania State Police shows Danelo Cavalcante early Sunday morning with what police called "a changed appearance." Pennsylvania State Police said in a statement on Sunday, Sept. 10, 2023 that Cavalcante was seen overnight near Phoenixville in northern Chester County.
AP
This image provided by the Pennsylvania State Police shows Danelo Cavalcante early Sunday morning with what police called "a changed appearance." Pennsylvania State Police said in a statement on Sunday, Sept. 10, 2023 that Cavalcante was seen overnight near Phoenixville in northern Chester County.

Updated September 11, 2023 at 3:38 PM ET

A convicted killer who escaped from a Pennsylvania prison late last month stole a refrigerated van and changed his appearance as he continues to evade authorities in a sprawling manhunt that has lasted a week and a half.

Danelo Cavalcante broke out of the Chester County Prison near Philadelphia on the last day of August by "crab-walking" up two exterior brick walls before scaling razor wire and vaulting off a roof.

The getaway sparked a massive search across southeastern Pennsylvania, with schools canceling classes and police urging homeowners in the area to keep their doors and windows locked.

On Sunday morning, authorities announced that Cavalcante had been spotted on a doorbell camera the previous night near Phoenixville, about a 40-minute drive from where he had been seen before.

Pennsylvania State Police Lt. Col. George Bivens said at a press conference that Cavalcante tried to contact someone he had known and previously worked with by speaking through their Ring camera. That person was at dinner with his family at the time and later called police, Bivens said.

Cavalcante was also seen at the home of a second coworker.

In still doorbell-camera images released by authorities on Sunday, the formerly-bearded Cavalcante was now clean-shaven and was wearing a yellow or green hooded sweatshirt, a black baseball cap, his green prison pants and white shoes.

Officials also said Cavalcante had been driving a stolen white 2020 Ford Transit van with a refrigeration unit on top. That van was later found abandoned behind a barn in East Nantmeal Township, where investigators are now focusing their ground search.

Bivens said Cavalcante is considered "extremely dangerous."

"I know this is an extremely stressful time for the community," Bivens said. "I assure you we are doing everything possible to bring this to a successful resolution as quickly as possible."

The manhunt is midway through its second week

During a news conference Monday afternoon, officials announced the reward for information leading to Cavalcante's capture had increased by $5,000 to $25,000.

Bivens also told reporters that a sister of Cavalcante was being detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and has been entered into a deportation proceeding. Cavalcante's sister was an "overstay" and chose not to assist in Cavalcante's capture, authorities said.

Cavalcante, 34, was convicted of first-degree murder in August for the 2021 killing of Deborah Brandao, 6ABC reported.

Prosecutors say Cavalcante stabbed his then-girlfriend in front of her two young children to stop her from telling police that he was wanted for a separate homicide in his home country of Brazil, the outlet reported.

Just days after his conviction, Cavalcante made his daylight escape from the prison's yard. A prison tower guard on duty at the time was later fired.

Late last week, Cavalcante was spotted near Longwood Gardens, a popular outdoor attraction about an hour's drive from Philadelphia, but police failed to capture him.

Bivens said during a press conference on Thursday that authorities would continue to look for the fugitive as long as it takes.

"We've chased people for a lot longer than this and ultimately brought them to justice," Bivens said. "As I've said before, we're not going anywhere. We will eventually capture him. And when we do, he's going to prison."

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, an inmate named Igor Bolte escaped from the same prison in May using the same method as Cavalcante, but authorities captured Bolte a short time later.

The acting warden of the Chester County Prison, Howard Holland, said that though the facility was fully staffed when Cavalcante broke out, it took jail authorities more than an hour to notify local law enforcement.

Bivens said if Cavalcante is captured, there is a "commitment" that he'll go straight to a state correctional facility.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Joe Hernandez
Jonathan Franklin
Jonathan Franklin is a digital reporter on the News desk covering general assignment and breaking national news.