Safe surrender attracts 400 fugitives

October 3, 2009 4:50:03 PM PDT
About 400 fugitives turned themselves in at the White Rock Christian Church in Chester during the 4-day Safe Surrender program. While Delaware County prosecutors, public defenders, and judges were present, it was the church and its promise of fair treatment that was key in convincing the wanted to stop running. "Churches are considered sanctuaries, safe havens, trusted parts of the community," Pastor Edward Lilly said.

Organizers say fugitives who use safe surrender get "favorable consideration," but they are emphatic that does not mean amnesty.

"They are facing the music, they are coming forward. They deserve a lot of credit for coming forward to resolve the issues," Judge Barry Dozor of Common Pleas Court said.

All but a handful were able to have their cases processed in just hours and avoid jail.

For one man, who spoke to Action News, favorable consideration meant credit for time served.

"I can't wait until Monday to go to job hunting?I feel a lot of better," the man said.

Officials say those who did not surrender at White Rock now become the target of a large scale fugitive roundup and this time no favorable consideration will be extended.


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