COAL TOWNSHIP — Four boys were apprehended Monday night after the second runaway attempt at Northwestern Academy in Coal Township in three months.
The teenagers, three 16-year-olds and one 14-year-old, are all from outside the Valley, according to the Coal Township Police Department.
The young men were running away from the boot camp section of the academy shortly after 7 p.m. and were all apprehended by 11 p.m. by Northwest staff members, according to police.
In August, four boys escaped from the secure unit of the facility after overpowering an employee and stealing his car. Three of those individuals have been apprehended, said Jim Sharp, executive director of Northwestern.
The facility, located off of Route 61 in Coal Township, cannot put a fence or other deterrent up to keep the youths inside because Northwestern is licensed as an “open residential program” juvenile facility, Sharp said.
“If you put gates or chains or fences, then you’re really not an open residential facility,” he said.
The facility tries to do a good job of keeping the community informed of any runaway attempts, Sharp said.
“When kids do leave the campus, we have a very responsive program and staff have a great relationship with the local police, who are very cooperative,” he said.
As in this incident, most of the time the public is not in danger, Sharp said.
“The result is, the youth were safe and community (members) were safe,” he said. “That’s always the outcome we are looking for.”