Lieutenant Colonel George Bivens, Deputy Commissioner of Operations for the Pennsylvania State Police, and Warren County Assistant District Attorney Cody Brown speak during a media conference on July 14, 2023. Photo by Brian Hagberg.

Police Still Seeking Information About Drone; Advise People to “Remain Vigilant” During Outdoor Recreation

July 15, 2023

YOUNGSVILLE, Pa. – Investigators are still seeking information about a drone they believe was in the area of the Warren County Jail just before Michael Burham’s escape.

See also: Police release video purportedly of Burham

Lieutenant Colonel George Bivens, Deputy Commissioner of Operations for the Pennsylvania State Police said during a media conference at the Youngsville Borough Office on Friday that police have accounted for other drones flying in the area earlier in the day, but not the one they believe was there closer to the time Burham escaped.

“We’ve had a couple of calls on that (the drone),” Bivens said. “We have not positively identified the drone that we believe was operating at that time. Coincidentally at other times of the day, there were other drones not far from that area that were operating, we have accounted for those. There is one drone that we’re interested in, there are others that we’ve identified through the course of interviews.”

See the full media conference:

Though police believe Burham is armed and dangerous, Bivens said there is no reason to believe Burham poses a greater threat to the public now than he has previously.

“At this point, I have no other reason to believe that he poses more of a threat to the public today than he did yesterday, for example,” Bivens said. “Again, as information and tips and leads and so forth or other video, that could change. Information will come across, it could change. I have no reason again to start advising people that we want to lock down certain areas, or that they need to be anything more than vigilant, stay clear of him, and contact law enforcement immediately if they believe they have seen him.”

To that end, Bivens said while he encourages people to be “vigilant,” he didn’t see any reason to advise against participating in outdoor activities, including those who plan to go to the woods.

“I’m recommending they remain vigilant,” Bivens said. “But again I can’t tell you with certainty what that narrow area would be that we would recommend no outdoor activities. And I don’t think we can lock down a significant portion of western PA and western New York without having more specific information. As I’ve said before though if I had enough information to believe that any particular area faced a specific threat we would absolutely shut that area down to the best of our ability.”

Bivens said he believes he has “an idea” of the general area where Burham is, but that Burham is on the move.

“I believe that he is in a . . . I have an idea of what the geographic area that I believe he is in,” Bivens said. “Within that area is a significant amount of National Forest, but also residences that . . . I don’t believe he’s sitting in one area the size of a football field and hasn’t moved. As he moves around he encounters residences, businesses, those kinds of things.”

Despite that belief, Bivens said police will still investigate all tips and leads they receive.

“I know we get questions periodically about how can we be searching one area and simultaneously searching another if we believe he’s still here,” Bivens said. “The fact that we continue to aggressively search the area that we believe he’s most likely to be in does not take anything away from efforts to search where we get other investigative leads or tips and that’s what you see occurring up there.”

Three separate agencies have offered rewards for information leading to Burham’s capture, totaling $22,000. PA Crime Stoppers and the U.S. Marshals are each offering $10,000, and Warren County Crime Stoppers is offering $2,000.

Anyone with information is asked to call 717-265-9650.

Police do consider Burham to be armed and dangerous and cautioned against approaching Burham if he is seen, and instead to call 911 immediately.

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