Berkeley fugitive was able to blend in after being tossed - WCIV-TV | ABC News 4 - Charleston News, Sports, Weather

Berkeley fugitive was able to blend in after being tossed from hospital

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James Sanders (Provided) James Sanders (Provided)

By Stefanie Bainum
sbainum@abcnews4.com

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WCIV) – The Grand Strand is where it all ended for fugitive James Sanders. Police chased and arrested Sanders outside of a bar at Broadway at the Beach Thursday night after a night of drinking and dancing.

But, Sanders' time in Myrtle Beach began long before that.

The Berkeley County escapee was using the Grand Strand Medical Center like a hotel. U.S. Marshals said he had changed his looks and his name while staying at the facility. Police said he played the role of a concerned family member to a patient who was in a coma.

Hospital security eventually realized he didn't belong there and kicked him out last Thursday.

That's when Sanders traveled eight miles down the road and found the Myrtle Beach Community Kitchen.

"I hadn't really seen him in the area before," said Community Kitchen volunteer Arnold Laws. "You see a lot of people here that you kind of see on a regular basis and when someone new comes in they kind of stand out."

Sanders came into the shelter for breakfast on Wednesday. He didn't need identification to get a free meal.

"He was just like a normal person actually. He came in, got in line, got him a tray and just sat down. He was actually kind of quiet. He didn't really communicate with anybody, but nothing out of the ordinary," Laws said.

People at the Community Kitchen tipped off authorities to Sanders' location, but he got away before U.S. Marshals arrived.

Sanders then made his way to Broadway at the Beach, where he danced and drank at the Rodeo Bar and Grille Thursday night. He wound up getting arrested outside the bar after police said he stole a woman's wallet.

Sanders did not have identification, but Police say female witnesses told them they helped get Sanders into the bar.

Sanders was charged by the Myrtle Beach Police Department with petit larceny and resisting arrest. Police say he provided a fake name and date of birth. It was then discovered after the booking process that he was James Sanders and wanted out of Berkeley County.

Sanders was arraigned on his new charges Friday morning at a hearing in Myrtle Beach. He pleaded no contest to the charge of petit larceny and guilty to the charge of providing false information to police/resisting arrest. He was issued a 30-day suspended sentence on both charges and released to the custody of Berkeley County officials.

At a bond hearing in Berkeley County Friday night, a judge granted Sanders a $800,000 bond. If released, he will be required to wear a GPS monitoring ankle bracelet.

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