Escaped Prisoners Caught in Lycoming County

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WILLIAMSPORT -- Authorities in Lycoming County held a news conference in downtown Williamsport to announce the capture of two escaped prisoners.

According to investigators, Jarrett Houser and Christony Pettit escaped from the Lycoming County Pre-Release Center near Montoursville, almost two weeks ago.

"We had concerns that the longer they were out, the more desperate they'd become," Lycoming County D.A. Eric Linhardt said.

While they were on the run, the two are accused of stealing ATVs and burglarizing three dozen cabins and businesses. One of the places hit was Donnie's Downtown Country Mall near Trout Run.

"You're talking about an area that we were forced to search that was all of Northern Lycoming County to Bradford County, much of it very difficult terrain," Linhardt said.

Pettit was caught Sunday evening after a run-in with forest rangers. Houser was captured late Thursday night, in a rural area just north of Williamsport.

"They're out there for 11 days committing crimes against the public for 11 days. With the amount of burglaries, with the amount of motor vehicle thefts, and the amount of thefts they're committing, it's tough for me to say i believe they're remorseful," Sheriff Mark Lusk said.

Lycoming County District Attorney Eric Linhardt says Houser and Pettit each had only a few months left in their sentences at the pre-release center.

"They were serving relatively short sentences for failing to pay child support. Because of their decision to walk away from the facility they're facing years in state prison," Linhardt said.

Houser & Pettit are charged with escape and are in the Lycoming County Prison on $1 million bail. State police plan to charge them both with dozens of counts of burglary and theft sometime next week.