The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


June 26, 2013

County inmates damage car by tossing rocks over prison walls in Sunbury

SUNBURY — Inmates will be punished and Northumberland County Prison investigated after five inmates threw rocks over a 30-foot-high wall on Tuesday, damaging a car on Woodlawn Avenue, Commissioner Vinny Clausi said.

The prisoners were sent to isolation after they were seen afterward on video surveillance hurling rocks over the wall of the jail’s recreation yard.

Cmdr. Brian Wheary watched surveillance video after the incident and immediately contacted Sunbury police, who are investigating.

Clausi arrived and demanded answers.

“This is insane,” Clausi said. “These people will be punished.”

As county officials gathered on Woodlawn Avenue aside the jail, neighbors began to complain.

“This happens all the time,” a woman said. “They throw the rocks and hit our windows and our house.”

Clausi and Wheary spoke at length in the alley.

“We take full responsibility for this,” Wheary said. “We will get the police report and we will do all we can to prosecute those involved.”

The county is liable for the damage, Clausi said.

“We will pay for this,” he said. “We can’t have residents walking in the alley and being afraid they are going to get hit by something coming over the wall.”

Wheary said the jailhouse may purchase a net to prevent anything from coming in or out of the prison over the wall.

Prison officials will be reviewing how the inmates, without being seen by guards, were able to gather rocks and toss them over the wall while being outside in the recreational yard, Clausi said.

The recreational yard is not paved or cemented. It’s just dirt, Clausi said.

“Rocks pop up,” he said. “But we will be reviewing how this occurred and we are thankful it was only one vehicle that was damaged. We apologized to the owner of the vehicle and we are grateful she was understanding. We promise to make this right and we will pay for all damage.”

The woman who owned the vehicle declined to comment. Sunbury police Chief Steve Mazzeo was aware of the incident and said the city will work with the prison.


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