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Massive Search Underway After Escaped Prisoner May Have Been Spotted off Parkway in Ocean County

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An escaped prisoner on the loose since last week is the subject of a massive, overnight search in the median of the Garden State Parkway between Berkeley Township and the Forked River rest area near mile marker 74, sources said Sunday night and early Monday morning.

38-year-old Arthur Buckel escaped from Bayside State Prison on the campus of the Ancora Psychiatric Hospital last week. He was spotted in Barnegat Township on Wednesday, prompting schools to go on lockdown.

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After several days of no sightings, there was an unconfirmed sighting at the Forked River rest area on the Garden State Parkway Sunday night.

New Jersey State Police have set up a command post at Central Regional High School in Bayville while helicopters are hovering over wooded areas adjacent to the highway. Lacey Township police said there is no danger to residents, but officers would be monitoring the search through Monday morning.

Arthur Buckel (NJDOC)
Arthur Buckel (NJDOC)

There were also unconfirmed reports that Buckel made phone contact with his mother on Sunday.

Authorities said Buckel may now be clean shaven.