Vermont State Police Search Waters for Escaped Inmates

ST. ALBANS, Vt. – Aboard Vermont State Police marine patrol boats, troopers searched the waters near the Lake Champlain Islands Thursday.

They’re following up on every lead or possible sighting of escaped convicts David Sweat and Richard Matt after Wednesday’s revelation that the men intended to head to Vermont.

“As you know, the only tip that we got was that it was their intention before they escaped to go to Vermont,” said Gov. Peter Shumlin (D-Vermont) at a press briefing Thursday. “Because they thought the police presence would not be as large and as threatening here.”

The Governor is hoping to squash those thoughts by providing resources to keep the public safe and increasing police presence in key locations, like hunting campsites, remote areas, Lake Champlain and the islands.

Police won’t say where exactly they are hearing reported sightings, but did say they followed up on a tip on Burton Island in St. Albans Bay and ruled it out.

“They’ll continue to follow up on tips on the shoreline,” State Police Col. Tom L’Esperance said of the marine patrol.

Megan Thibault and her daughter were playing in St. Albans Bay Park Thursday afternoon. Thibault was surprised to hear the Vermont search was focused in that area.

“It’s scary to know they could possibly be over here,” she said.

“Bottom line is, they could be anywhere,” said Shumlin.

Police and the Governor emphasize Vermonters should not panic, but be vigliant; report suspicious activity including any stolen boats or other property.

Authorities say don’t approach the men–who Shumlin says are capable of anything.

“These two men are ruthless, nasty killers,” Shumlin said. “Just look at their records. They’ll do anything to achieve their freedom, and they’ve got a history of doing horrid things to people.”

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