A pickup truck which was stolen more than a week ago by a prison inmate during his escape from a work detail near Thomson has been recovered in Gainesville, Ga., The McDuffie Mirror has learned.
Meanwhile, the whereabouts of the escapee, identified as 30-year-old Tommy Ray Woodruff, of the Flowery Branch, Ga. area of Cherokee County, still was unknown as of press time Tuesday.
He is now being sought by officers with the Georgia Department of Corrections, as well as the U.S. Marshal's Service, who now consider him a fugitive.
Mr. Woodruff is described as a white male, standing 6-4 and weighing 165 pounds. He last was seen wearing prison-striped pants and a shirt.
McDuffie County Sheriff's Department Major Ronnie Williamson said he received word late Monday afternoon from Gainesville police informing him that the 2006 Chevrolet 1500 pickup truck had been discovered abandoned behind a downtown building.
The decals, identifying it as being owned by McDuffie County government, had been removed, but that appeared to be the only damage sustained.
Maj. Williamson said the truck, which is used by employees of the county roads and bridges department, was expected to be picked up and brought back to Thomson on Tuesday.
Mr. Woodruff, who had been an inmate at the Pre-Release Center in Wilkes County, managed to steal the truck after discovering the keys lying on the front seat, Maj. Williamson said.
When he left, the truck reportedly had only about a quarter tank of gas.
It remains unclear how the escapee managed to get as far as he did considering that point, as well as the fact that he reportedly didn't have any money.
At the time, Mr. Woodruff had been assigned to work with other inmates cleaning out manholes on Viola Avery Street near Thomson.