NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) - The Newport News Sheriff's Department is searching for a teenage offender who escaped police custody on his way to the Juvenile Detention Center.
Spokesperson Kathleen Carey said the 17-year-old escaped around 3 p.m. from a holding cell at the Juvenile Domestic Relations Court in the area of 39th Street and Madison Avenue.
The teen had appeared in court where a judge denied his release and was put in a holding cell while being prepared for transport back to the Detention Center. Carey said an initial investigation reveals a deputy didn't follow security procedures and the boy ran past the deputy, who was securing another juvenile, and through an unsecured door.
Police traced the teen across the railroad tracks toward the Southeast Community of Newport News, and the Sheriff's Office searched his mother's residence, but he was not found.
WAVY.com spoke to residents in the Jefferson Park area of Newport News who were shocked by the increased police presence and word of the circumstances surrounding it.
"We seen state troopers, the local police and the sheriff department," said Katina Sanders. "And you don't normally see all those combined forces come together in one area unless its something serious."
"That there causes speculation," said Keith Wall. "It raises an eyebrow and inquiring minds want to know how that happened."
The teen is described as 5 foot 10 inches tall and 165 pounds, wearing a blue shirt and blue shorts.
He was originally arrested on June 4 and charged with threats by letter or communication, grand larceny, and entering an occupied building -- all of which are misdemeanors.
Carey said the teen is not considered a threat to the general public, and because he is underage, his name and picture are not being released.
Harold Eley with the Newport News Police Department said officers are assisting the Sheriff's Department with the search. Carey said Virginia State Police, Hampton Police and CSX Police are also helping the search.
WAVY.com questioned the Sheriff's Office about the Deputy who the teen escaped past. We're told there's an ongoing investigation into what, if any disciplinary actions he'll face.
If you have any information on the suspect's whereabouts, call the Crime Line at 1-888-Lock-U-Up.
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