(Daily Mail)Two teenage asylum seekers from Guatemala have escaped a detention center in Illinois and carjacked a 91-year-old Navy veteran.
The incident has prompted the federal government to order a security review at all 139 shelters across the country that house illegal immigrant minors, MailOnline can exclusively reveal.
The boys, age 16 and 17, were able to walk away unchallenged from Maryville Academy in Des Plaines, Illinois, outside Chicago, on Wednesday morning and carjack two victims before they were arrested more than 225 miles away outside Iowa City, Iowa, according to authorities.
Police say they targeted an elderly man inMoline, Illinois, who was picking up his prescription at Walmart.
They threatened him with violence, forced him out of his car and then sped off with his Buick LeSabre.
Police tell MaiIOnline they were headed for California, where one of the teens has family.
The teens had been transferred to the Illinois facility after crossing the US-Mexico border as unaccompanied minors and requesting asylum in the United States.
More than 60,000 unaccompanied minors from Central America have poured across the US-Mexico border in recent months and claimed asylum, saying they were fleeing the drug cartel violence in their impoverished home countries.
The federal government is spending $868million this year to house and resettle them.
Currently, there are more than 2,400 children being held at 139 facilities across the country while they await hearings in front of an immigration judge, according to Kenneth J. Wolfe, a spokesman for the US Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees the programs.
When federal officials began looking for places to house the tens of thousands of minors, governors and local politicians around the country said no, fearing an uptick in crime over rumors that some of the refugees has ties to Central American gangs.
Illinois welcomed the minors with open arms, with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel saying he wanted 1,000 more kids brought to his city.
Federal law says minors cannot be deported without a refugee hearing, but the backlog in immigration courts can be months.
Nearly all of the tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors have been released to family members or sponsors in the US.
Those who couldn’t be placed with families remain in facilities contracted by the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Refugee Resettlement.
Mr Wolfe, the HHS spokesman, told MailOnline that the escape has prompted the Office of Refugee Resettlement to take ‘immediate steps to ensure that all (refugee resettlement) programs continue to provide a safe and secure environment.’
The government program has also ordered all shelters to conduct a ‘a security assessment to ensure that they have appropriate physical requirements to meet the behavioral and therapeutic requirements for children placed in their locations, reporting findings to ORR and taking any necessary steps to ensure all policies and requirements are followed.’
The Maryville Academy, a shelter for mentally-ill and at-risk youth, received asylum seekers who have mental health issues or are a security risk, Mr Wolfe said.
Police say the teens escaped about 6am and committed a carjacking of a victim nearby about 40 minutes later.
During the carjacking, the teen threatened the victim with violence, Des Plaines police Commander Randy Akin told MailOnline.
They drove 165 miles southwest to Moline, Illinois, where they targeted the 91-year-old man at a Walmart about noon.
‘They obviously chose him to take his vehicle. He walked with a cane. They watched him go in and get his medication from the VA,’ Moline police Detective Scott Williams said.
The teens threatened the man and made him give them his keys.
‘He was pretty rattled. He’s 91. But they didn’t psychically assault him,’ Det Williams said.
The teens then sped off and hit a parked car on their way out of the parking lot.
They headed west on Interstate 80 into Iowa. They made it 80 miles, past Iowa City, when they were finally caught.
Iowa State Patrol Lieutenant Randy Jones told MailOnline he had received reports of both carjackings and figured the teens were likely to head straight west on I-80, so he waited and watched passing cars.
When he spotted the teens in the LeSabre, he called for a roadblock to be set up ahead of them.
Troopers used spike strips to shred the teens’ tires and then pulled over – they surrendered without incident.
The teens did not speak, and only indicated that they spoke little English, Lt Jones said.
They are currently in a jail in Iowa City awaiting extradition back to Illinois to face criminal charges.