HAMMONTON, NJ (WTXF)- Officials announced today that they think Arthur Buckel has left the area. The town's mayor delivering that message from state official's late Thursday afternoon.
I think last night there was a certain amount of tension. I did in fact go and survey my own home. I came home a bit earlier from work just because of the nature of what was going on," said one Barnegat man.
Frantic neighbors are now relieved that Barnegat Police now say Arthur Buckel is out of the area. He’s the man they say escaped from a prison in Ancora, Hammonton Township and made his way to Ocean County in a stolen vehicle.
"There's been a plethora of law enforcement from the state to neighboring towns to the Department of Corrections. There’s a ton of resources from that standpoint,” said Chris Linton who lives in the area.
Police say Buckel was serving time for aggravated assault, drug possession and burglary. But police also revealed the convict had previously served 14 years in prison for killing his girlfriend’s 10 month old baby by striking her in the head several times because she was crying.
"It's a little crazy. It's nerve wrecking for the whole neighborhood and the town," said Javier Guzman. He is also happy to hear that even though police believe Buckel is out of the area they’re keeping officers at schools in the area another day as a precaution. Thursday afternoon police also escorted busses. Guzman has a 4-year old son.
"Yeah they were just standing guard and police cars were around there," he said.
Buckel was last seen shopping at a CVS yesterday after guards at Bayside State Prison reported him missing. Residents are relieved he’s believed to have fled the area but hope he’s caught soon.
"I think it's under control. They do a good job here making sure the town's safe so I think we're good." Said Guzman.
Police did not say why they believe Buckel is no longer in the area.