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Police find escaped psych patient on Tybee Island

Published: Sep. 17, 2021 at 10:40 PM EDT
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TYBEE ISLAND, Ga. (WTOC) - A man who escaped from a psychiatric facility and is wanted in two states, was found on Tybee Island. Police say they received calls he had been squatting at a local hotel.

The search began earlier this month and ended September 11. Tybee Police say tips from locals helped lead to an arrest.

“A family had attempted to check in, as they entered the room somebody else was walking out with a couple of towels that they had taken from the room,” said Tybee Island Police Lieutenant Emory Randolph.

Tybee Island Police say Friday, September 3, they got a call from Hotel Tybee about a possible squatter in one of their rooms. Lieutenant Randolph says officers checked the area but were not able to find anyone.

However, a week later, another call came in about the same man seen at the hotel. Police were able to get pictures from surveillance cameras.

“At that point we put the information out to our officers and they began to check the area for the suspect. As part of that process they did speak to a few locals, showed the person’s picture in case they happen to come across him,” said Lieutenant Randolph.

Just a couple days later, police received a tip 35-year-old David Ruppert was on the Tybee Island Pier.

According to a report from the Tybee Island Police Department, Ruppert told police he worked at a restaurant nearby and sometimes walked through the hotel to get to the beach. The report also says he gave police a fake name and birthday.

“Through our investigation we learned his actual identity,” said Lieutenant Randolph. “He was placed under arrest for giving that false information. Subsequent to that, we also learned he had warrants for his arrest out of the state of Florida and out of the state of Maryland with that one being escaping a psychiatric facility.”

Lieutenant Randolph says he is wanted in Florida for violating probation.

Ruppert was taken to the Chatham County Jail and is waiting to be extradited to Baltimore County in Maryland. He is charged with second degree burglary and giving false information to police.

“Because we have such tremendous support, we reach out to the community quite often and it paid off in this case,” said Lieutenant Randolph.

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