By TERRILL ALBEE Staff Writer

A search for two inmates who escaped the Northern State Correctional Facility Sunday evening has been scaled back.

Vermont State Police Lt. Pete Johnson, commander of the Derby barracks and coordinator of the manhunt, said Wednesday that although cruiser patrols have been expanded, massive foot searches such as those conducted near the prison site and surrounding Brownington Monday, and in Newport Center Tuesday, were not being conducted today.

Apparently the patrols have broadened the search beyond those two locations.

Johnson said there had been no reported sightings of James Lertola and Craig Whitman since Tuesday.

Asked if they may have left the area, Johnson said he hoped so. "They aren't from around here, so I am sure they are trying to leave."

Lertola, 23, formerly of Rutland, and Whitman, 32, formerly of Bennington, came up missing following the 10 p.m. head count Sunday at the Glen Road prison.

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Copyright 1999

The Caledonian-Record

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