MOUNT LAUREL TOWNSHIP, N.J. (CBS) -- A man convicted of attempted murder is still on the run Wednesday after New Jersey officials said he never returned to his halfway house following work detail over the weekend. Now, Mount Laurel police said they believehas left their area and the Department of Corrections said its special investigations division is handling the search.
The New Jersey Department of Corrections said the 54-year-old was working a pre-release job at an unidentified restaurant in Mount Laurel Saturday night but never returned to Camden, where he was supposed to be finishing out a nearly two-decade sentence for attempted murder.
"Mr. Berbon has been working in Mount Laurel as part of NJDOC's Residential Community Release Program (RCRP) since March 2023...By failing to return to the halfway house after work, Mr. Berbon is now considered an escapee," Mount Laurel Township officials.
While police said there's no indication Berbon is a threat to the public, the nature of his conviction leaves some residents uneasy that he was allowed in a halfway house.
"I don't understand how you can be under charges like that and be accommodated in those types of living arrangements," said one resident.
Berbon was convicted of trying to kill his parents in 2004 and was sentenced to nearly 19 years behind bars. He was scheduled to be released in February 2024.
Mount Laurel resident JB Ruffenach said this escape is stunning, especially after the escape of Chester County convicted murderer Danelo Cavalcante dominated the headlines earlier this month.
"It's disturbing, especially after the events in Pennsylvania over the last several weeks. You would think that people would have more accountability for the people that are in their care," Ruffenach said.
Even though he was working in Mount Laurel, police said he has no connection to the area and has likely moved to a different place. However, the DoC would not say what, if any, leads they have on Berbon's whereabouts.
"Who's going to be responsible for this? I wanna see who takes action on the accountability for these prisoners that just seem to be able to walk away from things," Ruffenach said.
CBS News Philadelphia asked the DoC how they would characterize Berbon's threat level to the public and if he was wearing an ankle monitor, but they haven't responded.
Berbon is described as approximately six feet tall and 250 pounds. He has blue eyes and brown/gray hair, police said.
Mount Laurel Police Department is asking the public to contact NJDOC Special Investigation Unit - Fugitive Unit at 1-800-523-3829 if you have any information regarding his whereabouts. They add that you should call 911 if you see Berbon in person.
for more features.