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Yoda Gets the Job Done

The two week manhunt for escaped murderer, Danelo Cavalcante,  turned a small Pennsylvania community into a nexus of media buzz and law enforcement overload.  Over 500 local, state and federal agents tracked leads and combed the vast woods surrounding South Coventry Township responding to an ever expanding chain of tips from the public.  The press made much of Cavalcante’s survivalist skills and his Houdini-like escape from the Chester County bighouse, about 30 miles west of Philadelphia.

Lacking more concrete (or encouraging) news, the media primarily focused on his gory criminal history, which effectively served to escalate the panic and raise obvious questions of how the hell they let this happen.  Apparently, Cavalcante was awaiting transfer from this facility to serve his life sentence. So this wasn’t his first rodeo as a convicted murderer. It also seems that it wasn’t Chester County’s first rodeo losing inmates.

They had enhanced their perimeter fencing after the first incident, but razor wire, etc.  proved to be more decorative than utilitarian.  You know what works….K9s. Maybe they should consider investing in a couple of sentry dogs.  Trained or not, dogs are designed to guard territory and alert to possible threats.

Yes, highly trained K9s don’t come cheap. But consider the taxpayer cost of this manhunt which eventually included officers from the Pennsylvania State Police, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the DEA, the FBI and US Marshals.  Every high tech, pricey piece of equipment was deployed by search teams.  But it proved to be no match for the challenges posed by extreme heat, torrential rain and dense woods. Meanwhile, Cavalcante kept popping up, stealing food, clothes, a van and a rifle along the way.

Police sent out several Reverse 911 calls advising residents to lock their doors and stay inside, which is a sensible precaution but obviously not a long term solution for this nightmare. (Dogs also work really well for home protection).  And don’t underestimate the level of fear generated by highly publicized this two week ordeal. A few days into it, schools and businesses began closing due to the heavy police activity and the collective sense of danger.  News commentators helped to get that ball rolling by confidently predicting a gory shootout-saying there’s no way such a vicious killer would be apprehended peacefully.

Just when it seemed like this would never end, Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro made the early morning news announcement that Cavalcante had been apprehended with no shots fired.

The previous night, Cavalcante had triggered a burglar alarm leading a DEA plane to detect his heat signal and pinpoint his location in the woods. They knew where he was-getting in there was another story. Waiting for daylight or clear weather was not an option. A tactical team closed in, and as expected, Cavalcante took off.

Luckily, that tactical unit included a Customs agent and his K9, a four year old Malinois named Yoda.  According to Lt. Col. George Bivens, Yoda subdued Cavalcante as he attempted make his getaway. “When the dog got to him, he then went flat with the dog on him – the dog was able to detain him there.”  No one got shot, no one got hurt at all. Thank you Yoda. P.S- Keep a lid on those prisoners next time.

Short URL: http://caninechronicle.com/?p=275224

Posted by on Oct 30 2023. Filed under Current Articles, Featured, Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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