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Police: Teens killed to escape halfway house

/ Source: The Associated Press

Two teenage residents of a western New York halfway house killed a supervisor and bolted from the home after one of them fell under suspicion for stealing, police said Tuesday.

The teens blindsided 24-year-old Renee Greco on Monday night as she played cards with other residents of the state-run Wyndham Lawn Home for Children, Lockport Detective Capt. Richard Podgers said. Greco was supervising about eight residents by herself when the two teens threw a blanket over her head and hit her with objects taken from the home's basement, police said.

The pair, Anthony Allen and Robert Thousand, both of Rochester, were caught early Tuesday after buying bus tickets in Buffalo. They pleaded not guilty at their arraignment Tuesday morning on murder, robbery and burglary charges.

A third teen, whose name was not released, was taken into custody with them, but was not part of the plot and was not charged.

Allen, 18, was just a week away from being released and was afraid he would be caught for stealing $160 from the home's office over the weekend, Podgers said.

"He decided he was going to go AWOL. He had had enough," Podgers said. "They formulated a plan and carried it out."

Podgers described Allen as the ringleader. Allen got the weapons, which authorities declined to describe, and enlisted Thousand, 17, to help, he said.

After attacking Greco, the teens took money and a halfway house van and drove to Buffalo, about 20 miles away. One of the other residents called 911.

Wyndham Lawn houses young offenders without violent records who have done time for petty crimes, Podgers said. Details of Allen's and Thousand's records weren't immediately available.

Thousand will be represented by a public defender. Allen will be assigned a lawyer Wednesday.