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Escaped inmate has been captured near Cartersville

A state prison inmate who recently stole a pickup truck while on a work detail in McDuffie County has been apprehended by authorities.

Tommy Ray Woodruff was caught late Tuesday near Cartersville, according to McDuffie County Sheriff's Department Major Ronnie Williamson.

The 30-year-old Mr. Woodruff had been serving time at the Pre-Release Center in Wilkes County prior to stealing a pickup truck belonging to the McDuffie County Roads and Bridges Department and fleeing the area.

Police found the truck abandoned behind a building in downtown Gainesville earlier this week, Maj. Williamson said. The emblems, identifying the truck as belonging to McDuffie County government, had been removed. The truck since has been returned to the county and back in use.

Maj. Williamson said Mr. Woodruff was caught by members of a federal fugitive squad, working closely with officials of the Georgia Department of Corrections. When authorities closed in on the escapee, he tried to run away before jumping into a pond, trying to swim away. He was taken into custody a few minutes later.

Mr. Woodruff is now facing charges of escape, theft of a motor vehicle and interference with government property in McDuffie County, Maj. Williamson said.

The inmate is now being held at Phillips State Prison in Buford, Ga.

Web posted on Thursday, August 05, 2010

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