Thirty-two teenage boys escaped from the Woodland Hills Youth Development Center in Nashville Monday night by taking advantage of a "weak spot" in a "anti-climb chain-linked fence"—crawling underneath. Fifteen of the teens either turned themselves in or were found by authorities, CNN reports. A number of the boys, however, remain on the run.
The escape reportedly occurred during an evening shift change. "Apparently they were able to find a weak spot at the bottom of the fence and they were able to go underneath it," Tennessee Department of Children's Services spokesman Rob Johnson told the Los Angeles Times.
Johnson also told the LA Times that the teens being held at the detention center have all committed at least three felonies, which range, ABC New reports, from "a history of running away to burglary and theft, violent crimes, drug-related crimes, foster care problems and mental health needs."
Nashville police, Tennessee Highway Patrol, and city protective services are all searching for the remaining teens. It's currently unclear to officials at the center, Johnson told CNN, whether the teens planned the escape or they saw an opportunity to escape and went for it.
The 32 juveniles left their rooms and went into a common area where they overwhelmed 16 to 18 staff members, Tennessee Department of Children's Services spokesman Rob Johnson told The Associated Press.
The group then kicked out a metal panel under a window to get out of the building and into a yard, Johnson said. The teens were then confronted by a specialized fenced designed make it almost impossible to climb, but the teenagers realized they could lift part of the fence to get out.
Johnson said the fence is buried 8 inches deep into the ground, but the teens managed to pull up a weak portion and slip underneath. Once staff members saw some of the group leaving, they called the police, Johnson said.