Manhunt for ambush suspect Frein cost taxpayers $11M
HARRISBURG — State police spent about $11 million on the manhunt for a survivalist charged in the ambush slaying of a trooper outside his barracks, according to a cost breakdown released Friday.
Thousands of law enforcement officers from the Pennsylvania State Police and numerous other state and federal agencies took part in the 48-day search for Eric Frein, who was captured Oct. 30 by U.S. marshals outside an abandoned airplane hangar in the Pocono Mountains.
State police spent $10.5 million on personnel, including $6.9 million for overtime and $2.8 million for benefits, according to the breakdown. Other costs included travel, utilities and equipment.
Frein is charged with opening fire on the Blooming Grove barracks two months ago, killing Cpl. Bryon Dickson and seriously wounding a second trooper.
Officials used dogs, thermal imaging technology and other tools as they combed miles of forest looking for Frein, whom they described as armed and extremely dangerous.
They pursued countless tips and closed in on an area around Frein’s parents’ home in Canadensis after he used his cellphone to try to contact them.
The search caused weeks of tension and turmoil for residents and businesses in the area, as authorities intermittently closed schools, canceled outdoor events and blockaded roads.
After his arrest, Frein confessed to what he called an “assassination” and told police he did it to “wake people up” and spur a change in government, according to court documents released Thursday that provided the first indication of motive. Police found a letter that Frein, 31, addressed to “Mom and Dad” that said he wanted to spark a revolution, the documents said.
Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for Frein, who has not entered a plea.
Frein’s arrest doesn’t end the cost to taxpayers, assuming a trial and any appeals.
His two court-appointed lawyers will be paid $178 per hour to work on the case.