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Prison escapee, robbery suspect captured in Rockdale

CONYERS — A man who escaped from prison and then allegedly stole a truck and committed two bank robberies — one in Newton County — was arrested wearing only his underwear Sunday morning.

Deputies with the Rockdale County Sheriff’s Office were called to the Fairview/Salem roads area Sunday shortly after 9:30 a.m. after dispatch received several calls that a suspicious person was seen running through yards and jumping fences in his underwear.

Deputies remained in the area looking for the suspect for more than an hour before an officer found the man in a heavily wooded area and took him into custody. According to the RCSO, the man was wearing only underwear, was extremely delusional and appeared to be under the influence of drugs.

During their search of the area deputies also found a truck reported stolen in Aiken, S.C. A resident told deputies that a man matching the description of the man running around in his underwear paid him $20 to park the truck in his driveway. When deputies conducted an NCIC inquiry on the truck, it came back stolen. Deputies also learned that the man who stole the truck had escaped from a prison in Richmond County.

An RCSO investigator at the scene also noticed that the man matched the description of a suspect who robbed BestBank inside the Kroger store on Salem Road in Newton County on Saturday.

According to a report by the Newton County Sheriff’s Office, a man entered the Kroger store around 10:15 a.m., displayed a weapon to the bank tellers and demanded money. One of the tellers placed the cash drawer on the counter and the suspect grabbed the money, inadvertently also taking a dye pack. The man left on foot and was crossing the parking lot when the dye pack ruptured, according to the report.

The suspect, identified as Robert Brian McClellan, 36, had been serving a 15-year prison sentence for multiple burglary, robbery and theft convictions. He is being held in the Rockdale County Jail on a charge of theft by receiving stolen property. He faces an armed robbery charge in Newton County.

McClellan is also a suspect in a bank robbery in South Carolina.

“I want to commend Deputy Blake, Deputy Lopez and Investigator Blevins for an outstanding job in apprehending this dangerous criminal,” said Sheriff Eric Levett. “The deputies demonstrated a commendable effort to locate this individual. Despite the fact that this was an apparent minor incident that deputies responded, the deputies clearly demonstrated that you never know the true gravity of any call for service. The deputies were persistent to locate this individual, and it paid off in the end. This arrest puts an end to this escaped inmate’s recent crime spree and puts him back behind bars where he belongs.”