CLAYTON - The search continues for a missing St. Louis County prisoner after he escaped police custody. Police believe the escape inmate has ties to this area and he should considered armed and dangerous.
Investigators believe he has taken control of a vehicle since his escape.
Police say Bruce Brutsman, 36, was taken to a hospital Saturday at around 9:30 a.m. after allegedly swallowing a battery. He escaped from the correctional officer and fled on foot. Brutsman, is described as a white male, approximately 6'6" tall and weighing about 240lbs.
Brutsman was being held at the St. Louis County Justice Center in Clayton on charges of burglary and other property crimes.
Investigators say Brutsman stole a vehicle from the 5800 block of Hampton Avenue during his flight from the medical facility. It is a 1997 Toyota Tercel, four door sedan. The vehicle is white in color with black bumpers and is displaying State of Missouri license plate SK8R4K.
A Richmond Heights woman and her teenage daughter asked not to be identified, but claims they were the first to encounter Brutsman after he escaped from the hospital. The teen said Brutsman approached her around 9 a.m. with an IV hanging out of his arm.
“He like came up and came up diagonally and was ‘Hey, can you help me?’” the teen said. “I said ‘alright hold on a second’, he’s like somebody’s chasing me!” So, the girl said she went in the house to get her mom.
Moments later, the woman said she came outside and immediately knew something was up.
“There is a gigantic man standing in my front yard, bloody, with torn up shrubs… this isn’t right!,” the mom said. “My first instinct was to call 911.”
She said Brutsman told her he was trying to self-check himself into the hospital and somebody started to chase him. The mom said she wasn’t buying it.
“Ok, lets gets somebody 911,” she said. “He was like ‘okay you’re calling the cops, I’m just going to go stand around here in the corner’ and went around the corner of our house. Not more than 30 seconds later he was gone."
The woman claims Richmond Heights Police never responded.
Meanwhile, a couple hours later Brutsman was seen on surveillance video a mile away on South Hampton. The prisoner was wearing a black shirt and orange bottoms walking down the sidewalk eyeing a white parked car.
He walks out of the frame, but seconds later he gets into the car and makes a getaway.
That car belonged to an Imo’s Pizza driver.
Robert Cartwright is one of the men in the video.
“I tried to get in the back door, but he takes off almost running over Scotty and shoots down Hampton doing 60 cutting people off not really caring,” Cartwright said.
Cartwright said he is still trying to figure out why the prisoner decided to target his coworker.
“He just had a blank stare on his face,” he said. “He never changed expressions, never blinked. He just saw an opportunity to get a getaway car and took off in it!”
Now, Cartwright is urging Brutsman to just turn himself into police.
“Man just give up!” he said. “It’s not worth it! You’re endangering innocent people with this stuff. You’re endangering yourself; you’re endangering law enforcement officers, what’s the point of it. You did something stupid, go serve your time and get out.”
Brutsman is still considered armed and dangerous. If you come in contact with him, police are still asking you stay away and give them a call.
Crimestoppers is offering a reward of up to $1,000 for information that leads to Brutsman's arrest. Call them if you have any information at 1-866-371-8477 or visit STLRCS.org.
Tips sent through this hotline are eligible for a reward. You can remain anonymous.