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Lancaster police ride to the rescue, rein in wayward steeds

Two Lancaster horses escaped Tuesday afternoon and made a break for it down Peppermint Road before they were corralled by the police in Walden Pond Park.

Lancaster police received a flurry of 911 calls about the escaped horses, and the photo of the captured fugitives being perp-walked back to their horse farm was posted on the Police Department’s Facebook page, generating a bit of buzz.

Apparently, one of the horses has a history of going on adventures.

“The owner told me that one is an escape artist and likes to bump open the gate for himself,” said Police Officer Brian Firestone, who, along with Officer Chris Keppner and neighbors, helped catch the horses.

It’s unknown if that’s what triggered Tuesday’s adventure, but the two horses were seen running down the center of the road in a rural area in the northeastern section of town.

It didn’t take long for residents to spot the pair – a brown horse named Molly, described as the escape artist, and a white horse named Akira, both from Peppermint Road – and before long, 911 dispatchers were bombarded with calls.

The horses managed to travel about half a mile in what Firestone described as a fairly quiet area.

“Our first concern was accidents,” Firestone said, noting that the park is not far from Walden Avenue. “We were very worried they’d run toward Walden.”

The horses ended up walking into the back entrance of the park before cutting across several baseball diamonds, where Keppner found them.

The white horse was friendlier, and police were able to get a harness and lead on her, but Molly, the adventurer, took off.

The brown horse didn’t seem to want to be separated from her buddy for long, however, and she eventually came back. She tried to run between Firestone and Akira, but Firestone grabbed Molly as she went by, while still keeping a tight rein on Akira.

“They seem to be partners,” Firestone said.

For Firestone, an officer for five years, it was the second time he has had to corral horses on the job. Previously, he corralled a much larger one on the loose near the Thruway. Firestone said that situation ended well, too.

The most memorable part of Tuesday’s caper was the return trip, Firestone said.

The two horses were walked back down Peppermint Road and returned to their owner, who was not identified.

“It looked like a little parade down Peppermint,” Firestone said. “The neighbors were at the end of their driveways and got a kick out of it.”