Highlands sex offender captured after cutting ankle monitor

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Gary Lee Ebersole
Authorities took Gary Lee Ebersole, 46, of Lorida into custody Thursday. He’s a convicted sex offender accused of cutting off his ankle monitor to avoid arrest. (Photo via Highlands County Sheriff’s Office)

LORIDA, Fla. A convicted sex offender accused of cutting off his ankle monitor to evade arrest is now in custody.

Gary Lee Ebersole, 46, of Lorida, was found Thursday morning in a wooded area east of the tiny Highlands County community where he’s from, the Highlands County Sheriff’s Office said. A pair of K-9 deputies chased him into a patch of palmetto trees just north of U.S. 98 near Nine Mile Grade.

He refused to come out, so one of the dogs went in and caught him by the leg, holding him until deputies could detain him.

Ebersole cut off his monitor at 9:30 a.m. Sunday at the Citgo at Golfview Road and U.S. 27 in Sebring, according to the sheriff’s office. He was being sought for an alleged parole violation.

He’ll now face charges related to that as well as grand theft of the ankle monitor, tampering with an electronic monitoring device and failure to report vacating his permanent residence.

Ebersole was convicted of a 1997 sexual assault on a victim under 16 and sentenced to seven and a half years in prison. He was also sentenced to 20 months in jail in 2005 for failure to comply with his sexual offender registration requirements.

He was sentenced in 1985 to five years for grand theft of a motor vehicle and grand theft of a firearm.

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