A number of schools in Barnegat have been placed on lockdown after word from authorities that a man spotted in a nearby wooded area may be the missing escapee from a South Jersey prison.

Police in Stafford Township report 38-year old Arthur Buckel was last seen at CVS on W. Bay Avenue in Barnegat near the Garden State Parkway.

Escaped prisoner Arthur Buckel/via Twitter/Daily Journal

Barnegat Police Department posted to its Facebook page earlier today that a 2015 Chevy Silverado was stolen from Hammonton just after 10 a.m. The suspect seen driving that vehicle is allegedly Buckel, who escaped from Bayside Prison unit at Ancora Psychiatric Unit in Winslow Township Tuesday.

Barnegat Police/Facebook

JSHN.org reports Buckel was only a few weeks away from being on parole. He was serving a three-year sentence for drug, burglary, and aggravated assault convictions, according to the state Department of Corrections.

Local, county, and state law enforcement agencies are searching in residential neighborhoods in the Barngat area, as well as an area behind a supermarket. While police say there is no direct threat to any nearby school, they are advising residents to lock their doors.

SOURCE: JSHN; NJ Department of Corrections; Barnegat Police Department

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