Investigators say the fugitive cut off his GPS tracking device and made his way to our area.
Authorities had been looking for 39-year-old Patrick Bell since Tuesday, when he cut off his tracking device in Palm Beach and disappeared, but Bell didn't get far. Around 8:30 Friday morning an officer spotted Bell walking on Tennessee Street and called for backup.
The Violent Fugitive Task Force caught him on Call and Adams Streets, right near the bus station and just a stone's throw from the U.S. Marshal's Office. He was arrested without incident.
Andy Kilgore, Deputy U.S. Marshal, says, "We were fortunate to take Bell into custody as quickly as we could, and long as we have good information we can do the arrest quickly as we can to be minimal impact for the community as a whole."
Authorities say Bell served five years in prison for raping a child, and was just released last month under controlled supervision. Those who witnessed the arrest were relieved to hear he will no longer be on Tallahassee streets.
Andy Brown, who witnessed the arrest, says, "I think he's a fugitive that's wanted. He was [more] clever than the cops until today. He was able to walk through this plaza, and we have so many kids that come through here, and to hear what he was being arrested for was crazy.”
Michael Cooper, a Tallahassee resident, adds, "It's kind of scary that it happened here in Tallahassee. He got from West Palm Beach and they didn't have any other way to track him or find him or find out where he was."
In fact, authorities spent Thursday night trying to track him in Bainbridge and Donaldsville, Georgia, where he was believed to be heading. Instead he was in Tallahassee staying at the Cactus Motel.
Bell is being held in the Leon County Jail for violating his probation. There’s no word yet on when he'll be extradited to West Palm Beach.