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Neighbors says Bridge City Center for Youth needs to be closed

Neighbors didn't get an emergency alert about the escape.

BRIDGE CITY, La. — Caught on camera at 2:30 in the morning, five juvenile inmates escaped the Bridge City Center for Youth Thursday.

The group apparently cut a hole through a bathroom ceiling, then came through a break in the fence being Terence Feazell's yard.

"They pulled on a couple of car doors and they went on down the street, dressed in their little uniforms, white t-shirt, black shorts," Feazell said. "I knew that’s where they had came from."

At least 20 inmates have escaped from the Bridge City Center for Youth in just over a year. It's become so commonplace for this neighborhood that Roy Phoenix wasn't surprised when he saw them run by his home this morning.

“I be on that next street over there, and they come right straight out through the fence," he said. "That’s how they get out. They’ve got that light sitting out there to try to catch them. That don’t stop them. They get out in a minute.”

We called Office of Juvenile Justice Secretary Bill Sommers to ask why this keeps happening, but he didn't want to talk.

"We’ve released a press release and that’s all we’re going to do on it," Sommers said.

That press release was scant on details.

We've since learned that neighbors didn't get an emergency alert about the escape. Several people in the neighborhood didn't even know about it when we spoke with them 14 hours later.

Feazell worries it's only a matter of time before someone gets hurt.

"I’m afraid that they're either gonna spook somebody and hurt somebody or somebody’s gonna end up hurting them," he said. "And we don’t want to see that happen."

After this latest escape, local leaders and some residents are calling for the state to shut the facility down.

The office of juvenile justice will meet with local leaders on Monday, June 20, in Baton Rouge to discuss the case.

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