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Police search for 17 teens who escaped Tennessee detention center

By Fiona Ortiz

(Reuters) - Nashville police were searching on Tuesday for 17 teens still at large after 32 boys escaped from a detention center overnight, a spokesman said.

At around 11 p.m. on Monday, some of the teens began pushing their way out of the dorms at the Woodland Hills Youth Development Center in Nashville, said Rob Johnson, director of communications for the Tennessee Department of Children's Services.

Johnson said room doors are not locked at the facility, which holds boys 14 to 18 years old. He said a number of the detainees made it out into the yard and found a weak spot in a back corner of the perimeter fence and got out underneath it.

Of the 32 detainees who got out, two were taken into custody immediately, and 13 were caught or surrendered to authorities through the early hours of the morning.

Johnson said most of the children who escaped have felony convictions for property crimes, assault and robbery. But none is in for homicide or murder.

(Reporting by Fiona Ortiz in Chicago; Editing by Mohammad Zargham)

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