Brown County inmate who escaped custody in airport arrested in Georgia
BROWN COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) - A Green Bay man wanted for multiple crimes in Brown County, who escaped custody at O’Hare Airport two weeks ago, is once again behind bars about 1,000 miles away.
Investigators tell us 31-year old Tyler Martinez was booked into a Georgia jail last week, but not before becoming a suspect in a cross-country crime spree involving several states.
By the time police in Georgia spotted Martinez on St. Patrick’s Day, he’d eluded authorities across the country for nine days.
Martinez’s last sighting by authorities was March 8th as he was running out of the Chicago airport with a handcuff still attached to his wrist.
“I don’t know how else to stress that. It has been a priority,” says Brown County Sheriff’s Office Investigative Captain Dave Poteat. “This is not something we take lightly.”
The Brown County Sheriff’s Office had contracted the private business, REDI Transports, to bring Martinez from Los Angeles to Wisconsin after police in California arrested him with a car stolen from Northeast Wisconsin.
Martinez had warrants out for his arrest for several cases here, including storage unit thefts, car theft and multiple drug offenses.
Poteat says as soon as the sheriff’s office found out he disappeared from custody of that transport officer, investigators began trying to track Martinez’s trail.
“Who are his family members? Who he might seek refuge to? What’s his past history? Things of that nature,” explains Poteat.
It didn’t take long to get a lead in Chicago.
“We learned he had obtained a vehicle in Chicago that was stolen, so we had that license plate. Obviously Chicago entered that into the system,” says Poteat.
That tracked into Iowa where Poteat says Martinez stole another license plate and put it on that stolen car.
While still in Iowa, investigators say he also stopped and bought a cell phone, giving them something else to track.
“We were working on trying to identify what that number was or some way of tracking that phone, but that’s a lengthy process,” says Poteat
As investigators here were doing that, they say Martinez continued cruising the country.
They still aren’t sure exactly where he went but believe he headed to Nebraska and Oklahoma before ending up in Georgia.
Poteat says Martinez is a suspect in crimes committed in all those states.
“We have been in contact with those investigators. He appears to be a good suspect for those,” he says.
Booking records in DeKalb County, Georgia show Martinez was arrested March 17th by Brookhaven Police near Atlanta.
And just like he was recently apprehended in California, Poteat says the stolen plates on that stolen car he’d been using led police right back to Martinez once again.
“We’re glad that he’s in custody, obviously. It’s unfortunate that we had to look for him again, but we’re glad he’s in custody, and he now has made things a lot worse with other charges that he’s looking at,” says Poteat.
Investigators don’t know how long it will take until Martinez is escorted to Wisconsin again, but it won’t be by the same transport company.
The sheriff suspended out-of-state transports with REDI and is still deciding the county’s next move.
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