Convicted sex offender Gary Lee Ebersole, who cut off his ankle monitor, has been captured

Posted at 2:33 PM, Aug 03, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-03 14:48:50-04

A convicted sex offender who disappeared in Florida after cutting off his ankle monitor, has been captured.

Gary Lee Ebersole cut off his ankle monitor on Monday morning just before deputies could arrest him for violating probation.

A pair of Highlands County Sheriff’s Office K-9 deputies found him east of Lorida, Florida Thursday morning, the sheriff's office said.

Lorida is northwest of Lake Okeechobee.

Ebersole was in a patch of palmettos and refused to come out so K-9  Remco, a Belgian Malinois, was sent in and caught him by the leg, officials said.

Ebersole served more than seven years in state prison for lewd and lascivious battery on a victim under the age of 16. He also spent more than five years in prison for grand theft.

He faces violation of probation charges, failure to report vacating his permanent residence, tampering with an electronic monitoring device and grand theft of the ankle monitor.

“This was outstanding teamwork,” Sheriff Paul Blackman said in a statement. “The Special Victims Unit has been relentless the last three days in their pursuit of this fugitive. Once they found out where he was hiding, it was just a matter of time before we caught him. The K-9 units  did an excellent job of tracking him through some tough terrain and running him down.

The sheriff also thanked the Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission for their help with the capture.