Over 100 items found in hangar near Pa. manhunt's end
Eric Frein stowed Soviet-era weapons alongside modern technology and found sustenance in bags of beans and a bottle of soy sauce
By Michael R. Sisak
BLOOMING GROVE, Pa. — Eric Frein stowed Soviet-era weapons alongside modern technology and found sustenance in bags of beans and a bottle of soy sauce, and warmth from candles, a propane stove and camouflage gear.
The survivalist marksman charged in a deadly ambush on a Pennsylvania state police barracks kept more than 100 items in an abandoned airplane hangar that investigators say he commandeered for shelter and storage in the gloaming of a 48-day manhunt.
After Frein's capture last week, police combed through the barn-like building and recovered a disparate collection. Outlined in court documents Wednesday, the items reflect the military re-enactor's deep interest in war and an innate need to survive the elements and boredom.
There, at the Birchwood-Pocono Airpark about 35 miles south of the Blooming Grove barracks where prosecutors say Frein killed one trooper and critically wounded another, police found a Chinese-made, Soviet-era sniper rifle, a second rifle of the type used by the former Yugoslavian army and a handgun used by the former Czechoslovakian military.
They also found a scope and mount, a bayonet and more than 200 bullets.
And along with the materiel were DVDs, a laptop computer, a pair of storage drives, a solar power converter, earbuds and a wireless mouse, according to a five-page search warrant inventory.
Frein told authorities he used unprotected Wi-Fi hotspots to connect to the Internet, according to court documents, raising the possibility he knew where police were focusing their search efforts each day.
He also had shortwave and weather band radios, along with copies of psalms and scriptures, a composition book and more than a dozen maps, according to the inventory.
Pike County District Attorney Raymond Tonkin released the details to the media Wednesday but said neither his office nor state police would answer questions.
Frein's lawyers did not immediately return a telephone message.
The 31-year-old is being held without bail. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Nov. 12.
Prior to his capture, state police said they believe Frein had been breaking into cabins and unoccupied vacation homes for food and shelter.
Investigators found evidence of sustenance in the abandoned hangar, according to the inventory, including dozens of empty water bottles, bags of rice, salt and pepper and a spork.
They also found a kit for dressing hunted animals, rolls of toilet paper and paper towels, grooming and first-aid supplies, flashlights and piles of thick clothing and blankets.
Frein belonged to a military re-enactors group. He played the part of a Serbian solder, had a small role in a 2007 movie about a concentration camp survivor and helped with props and historical references on a documentary about World War I.
During the manhunt, trackers found other items they believe Frein hid or abandoned in the woods, including soiled diapers, empty packs of Serbian cigarettes, an AK-47-style assault rifle and ammunition.
U.S. marshals happened upon Frein last Thursday while searching an open field near the former airpark. He was unarmed but told police he had weapons inside the hangar, according to an arrest affidavit.
Frein allegedly opened fire on the rural Blooming Grove state police barracks Sept. 12, killing Trooper Bryon Dickson and critically wounding Trooper Alex Douglass. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.
Frein appeared gaunt and battered at an arraignment the day after his capture but was not asked to enter a plea to first-degree murder and other charges, including possession of two pipe bombs discovered during the search, because he did not yet have a lawyer.
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press