Search crews and police authorities are now focusing their efforts to locate the two escaped inmates -- David Sweat and Richard Matt -- in Franklin County, near the Vermont border, according to media reports Monday.
On Saturday, two weeks after their escape, state police said that about 300 officers were deployed to scour an area near Allegany County, a day after a woman reported seeing two men who matched the descriptions of the inmates.
The two were reportedly spotted along a rail line in the town of Friendship, near the border with Pennsylvania. The new search area in Franklin County is in the northern part New York State. Local residents in the town of Mountain View told ABC News that police were seen setting up roadblocks and searching the area on Monday.
The men had previously been spotted in Steuben County, about 45 miles east of Friendship, last weekend. "Witnesses spotted two men on June 13 walking near the Gang Mills railyard on Rita's Way in the town of Erwin," police said on Friday. "The next day, two men with the same description were spotted walking along County Route 115 in the town of Lindley, heading toward the Pennsylvania border."
Police have received hundreds of leads since the two men escaped from Clinton County Correctional Facility in Dannemora on June 6, but they said that they considered the Friendship sighting -- nearly 400 miles from the prison, to be “credible,” State Police Maj. Michael Cerretto said on Sunday, according to NBC News.
Senator Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., reportedly said that it was possible that Matt and Sweat were “riding the rails,” moving along a long train line that stretches across southern New York.
The two men are reportedly considered “very dangerous,” according to state police, who warn citizens to avoid approaching them.
Matt and Sweat have been placed on the U.S. Marshals Service’s 15 most wanted fugitives list, and a $25,000 reward has been offered for information leading to their capture.
The pair used power tools to cut through the back of their adjacent cells and then broke out. A corrections officer, Joyce Mitchell has been charged with giving the men the tools they broke out with. She has also been accused of being involved in a relationship with the two men.
Matt was serving 25 years to life for kidnapping and killing a man in 1997, and Sweat was serving a life sentence after he was convicted of killing a sheriff’s deputy in 2002.