The survivalist accused of gunning down a Pennsylvania State Police trooper and eluding a massive dragnet for weeks had a laptop computer and accessed the Internet while on the run, raising the possibility that he kept track of efforts to find him.
Eric Frein, who dodged authorities for 48 days, had two thumb drives and a laptop stashed at an abandoned airport hangar where he was hiding out in Tannersville, some 90 miles north of Philadelphia. He was arrested Thursday and is charged murder and other counts. Prosecutors have said they’ll seek the death penalty.
Frein, 31, admitted the items were his and said he used open Wi-Fi networks to get online, court records show. Authorities will review his internet activity and look for possible evidence on the drives and computer, according to NBC affiliate WBRE.
Frein is accused of killing State Police Cpl. Bryon Dickson and wounding Trooper Alex Douglass in an ambush on the Blooming Grove barracks on Sept. 12. Police found a diary entry, his AK-47, two homemade pipe bombs and several campsites, they but hadn't been able to capture him until last Thursday.
As many as 1,000 local, state and federal law enforcement officers eventually joined the search for Frein. In addition to the trooper shootings, Frein is charged with two counts of manufacturing weapons of mass destruction after the pipe bombs were found. The shrapnel-packed bombs were booby-trapped with trip wires and could have caused serious injury to anyone nearby, authorities said.
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