SCHUYLKILL COUNTY — State, local and county authorities began a manhunt Friday afternoon after a Schuylkill County prisoner escaped.
Authorities said Jessie Wolfe of Schuylkill Haven was being escorted from the county courthouse in Pottsville across the street to the prison when he took off running.
Wolfe was wearing a prison jumpsuit, with his hands cuffed together.
Wolfe was locked up at the Schuylkill County prison in Pottsville, accused of leading police in Schuylkill Haven on a chase earlier this week. He is wanted in Berks County for fleeing and eluding charges, as well.
“We all tried to stop him. He was too fast. He was up the hill,” said Anthony Corsino of Pottsville.
Corsino lives in a housing development near the prison and said he was shocked to see an inmate run by around 4 o’clock in the afternoon.
Once in the development, police said, Wolfe ran into one residencethrough an unlocked front door.
Melinda Davidson said she was asleep on her couch when he came in.
“I sat up and he came over to my couch and sat down next to me and said, ‘Lady, you need to help me. ‘ Yeah. I was quite scared. I didn’t know what to do. ”
Davidson said the man was wearing handcuffs and told her to drive him somewhere.
Eventually, Davidson said she convinced him she could not do that. That is when she says he spotted her keys.
She said he took them and her wallet, ran outside, and took off in her gold van, still handcuffed.
“When he got in the van and started leaving, I called 911 right away. ”
“It’s scary. He kept saying he wasn’t going to hurt me, but you never know. It was a prison inmate and we live so close to the prison. You never thought it would happen so close to home. It happened at home,” said Davidson.
According to the Schuylkill County Sheriff, Wolfe stopped in Washington Township and Pine Grove, asking people there to help him get the handcuffs off.
Then, the sheriff said he drove to Berks County where he left the van behind and likely took off in another vehicle.
According to the sheriff’s office, Wolfe was caught just before 1 a.m. Saturday, in a wooded area of Tilden Township in Berks County. He was taken in to custody without incident, and no one was hurt. The sheriff tells Newswatch 16 Wolfe apparently had help during his hours of freedom, and those people will face charges for aiding a fugitive.
The U.S. Marshal’s Service, State Police and Berks County sheriff’s deputies aided in Saturday morning’s capture.