Sixteen boys lodged in the Coimbatore Juvenile Observation Home on Avanashi Road here reportedly assaulted the warden and fled the place on Sunday evening.

The police later took into custody 11 boys, while five others are still at large.

The incident took place when warden M. Chinnaraj entered a room in the home and was trying to lift the vessel containing food to be served to the boys.

Two boys, aged 16 and 17, overpowered the warden and took possession of the keys. In the minor scuffle, Chinnaraj fell down and sustained an injury. The boys then took Rs.6,400 kept in an almirah and escaped.

Three of the inmates had been in the home for the last 18 months, while the others were taken in recently

A policemen regulating traffic on Avanashi Road, near GKNM Hospital, caught hold of five boys, while three were nabbed near a hotel here. Three others were caught near Government Polytechnic College for Women by police who got an alert from the Home. Special teams have been formed to trace the five boys.

C.M. Manickam, Secretary of Discharged Prisoners Aid Society, denied that poor quality of food was served in the home. The boys were provided good food, including non-vegetarian items every Sunday, he said.

The home, run by Coimbatore Discharged Prisoners Aid Society, 26 remanded juvenile delinquents from Coimbatore, Erode, Tirupur and Nilgiris.