Schools in several New Jersey town were placed on lockdown Wednesday morning because of reports about an escaped prisoner in the area, a law enforcement source told NBC 4 New York.
Barnegat Township police announced that schools in the Ocean County town were being placed on lockdown at about 11 a.m. but said there was no threat to the schools.
Police were also urging motorists and pedestrians to avoid West Bay Avenue while the looked for the escapee, identified as Arthur Buckel.
Surf City police also said that schools there were placed on lockdown.
Corrections Department spokesman Matt Schuman said the 38-year-old inmate was missing when guards at the Ancora unit of Bayside State Prison in Winslow Township did a count at 6 a.m. Tuesday.
Schuman said Buckel, whose last known address was Clifton, was serving a sentence at the minimum security lockup for aggravated assault. He was scheduled to be paroled on May 21.
It wasn't clear how -- or if -- Buckel could have made the more than 40 miles journey from the Camden County prison to the Ocean City township.
Schuman said Buckel could face an addition 3 to 5 years in prison for escaping once he's recaptured.
Anyone with information should call the Barnegat Township Police Department at 609-698-5000.