The Gettysburg Compiler
March 9, 1946

Three Countians Are Arrested For Helping Escaped German Prisoners

Three members of an Adams county family, a man, his wife and young daughter, have been arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation charged with "aiding and abetting two escaped German Prisoners of war."

They are:
Byron J. Cease, 44, of Orrtanna R. 1. Mrs. Byron (Lovell) Cease, 37, his wife, and
Pearl Cease, 19, his daughter.

Announcement of the arrest of the three countians was made by H. B. Fletcher, Special Agent, in charge of the Philadelphia Field Division, Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Held for Federal Court

The three were arrested by the FBI agents, on warrants issued by the United States Commissioner Horace G. Ports, of York. They were given a hearing before Commissioner Ports Monday afternoon in York and were released upon payment of $1,000 each to await action of the Federal Grand Jury which convenes in Scranton on March 11.

Special Agent Fletcher said that on January 3, two German prisoners of war, Hans Herman Harloff and Bernard Wagner, escaped from the prisoner of war branch camp on the Gettysburg Battlefield.

Investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation revealed that upon their escape the two fugitives made their way to the home of Byron J. Cease, Orrtanna R. 1. arriving there at approximately 2 a. m. on January 4. Fletcher said that during that morning Harloff and Wagner were "given food, clothing and assistance at the Cease home" and were told of a vacant house near the Cease property where they could hide.

Fed by Cease Family

According to Mr. Fletcher, while the two escaped prisoners were in the vacant house, food was brought to them by members of the Cease family and that on the evening of January 5 the two prisoners were transported by Mr. Cease from his home, near Orrtanna, to a spot near another place of hiding on the road to Emmitsburg where the escaped prisoners were apprehended by FBI agents, members of the Pennsylvania State Police and military personnel on January 7.

Special Agent Fletcher further stated that the United States Attorney in Scranton had authorized prosecution of Cease, his wife and daughter, under a Federal statute making it a violation to aid or assist prisoners of war to escape or to aid or assist after escape.

Violation of this statute provides for a maximum penalty of not more than $10,000 fine or 10 years imprisonment, or both.

Met in Canning Factory

According to Special Agent Fletcher, Harloff, one of the escaped German prisoners, had become acquainted with Pearl Cease and her mother while working in a canning factory in Orrtanna. Fletcher said that Harloff and Wagner had made their way to the Cease home because Harloff thought that the Cease family would help them in making good their escape.