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Search Warrants: Frein Used Laptop to Evade Manhunt

BLOOMING GROVE TOWNSHIP — All these days many of us wondered how Eric Frein was able to stay on the run from police. Search warrants just returned in the ...
frein warrant

BLOOMING GROVE TOWNSHIP -- All these days many of us wondered how Eric Frein was able to stay on the run from police.

Search warrants just returned in the Eric Frein investigation show that he was able to hide from police using laptops and wireless internet.

Newswatch 16 was the first to tell you at noon Tuesday about the search warrants on a laptop and two thumb drives belonging to Frein.

Police said those items were found after Frein's capture Thursday at an abandoned resort in Monroe County.

The search warrant indicates police have a laptop and two thumb drives as evidence in the case against Frein.

What's really interesting is how the former fugitive might have used the laptop and all the information on the Internet about the manhunt to avoid capture for so long.

For seven weeks, police were searching the woods of Monroe and Pike counties for any sign of the so-called survivalist.

Meanwhile, court papers indicate Frein may have been doing some internet searching of his own on a laptop computer he had with him.

The night of his capture, police said Frein admitted using a laptop to access open WiFi accounts in the area while he was hiding from search teams.

"A guy like Eric Frein, he eluded the police almost two months. This guy is not stupid," said John Hannick of Hemlock Farms.

People who followed the story on TV and online said they wondered how Frein was able to always stay one step ahead of federal and state authorities.

Now they and police might have their answer, after police said the laptop and two thumb drives were found inside the hangar at the old Birchwood Resort where Frein was captured last week after 48 days on the run.

"Either he was very intelligent or he had assistance elsewhere, and that was his assistance, his WiFi," said Anna Curtin of Hemlock Farms.

In Barrett Township, part of the former search area for Frein for all those days, just driving down the road you can find a few open WiFi signals. Once connected without a password, you can go to WNEP.com and follow the latest news on the manhunt or go to a web page and listen to the Monroe County police scanners.

"I never really thought about it, leaving it open. It'd be interesting to know what kind of information he was getting from using people's WiFi accounts," said one woman in the neighborhood whose wireless router is open, not password locked.

Right now, there's no telling what websites or other sources of information Frein used when he logged onto unsecured wireless internet accounts.

Still, troopers hope the information on those devices will help explain what he was doing and what was his motive in the attack at State Police Blooming Grove.

They'll be looking at internet search terms, email and contacts, messages browsing history, journals and much more.

Frein is still locked up in Pike County facing first degree murder and other charges for his alleged ambush at the barracks in September.

The shooting left Corporal Bryon Dickson dead and Trooper Alex Douglass severely wounded and led to a 48-day manhunt through Pike and Monroe Counties.

One of Frein's defense attorneys said he met with the accused cop killer in jail late Monday. He would not comment on what Frein's demeanor is, only to say "he's a 31-year-old man facing serious charges sitting in jail."

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