January 22, 2022

Psychiatric hospital escapee caught in Conn.

Authorities in Bridgeport, Conn., have apprehended a man who allegedly went on a three-state crime spree after escaping from a Connecticut psychiatric hospital Saturday.

Ray Sastrom, 44, was charged early Wednesday with larceny and illegal possession of a weapon in a motor vehicle, according to The Associated Press.

Sastrom failed to return to Connecticut Valley Hospital from a one-hour pass that let him on the grounds by himself.

He allegedly stole a van and drove to Ellsworth, where he is suspected of having broken into two houses Monday, stealing money, a pellet gun and the truck in which he later was found. He allegedly used the pellet gun to rob a bank in Chelmsford, Mass., on Tuesday before making his way back to Connecticut to his mother’s house in Bridgeport.

This is the third time since 2002 that Sastrom has escaped from CVH. He has a string of convictions in Connecticut for burglary, extortion and threatening, and was sentenced to 40 years in Connecticut’s maximum psychiatric unit in 1994 after being acquitted by reason of insanity.

Sastrom is being held at CVH, according to Ellsworth police Lt. Harold Page.

“He is probably in a better-guarded room now,” he said.

The Ellsworth police had been working with Connecticut police, Maine State Police and the border patrol to find Sastrom.

Ellsworth police released information on the stolen truck after hearing about the bank robbery in Massachusetts. According to Page, they had sent the information earlier, but updated it just in case.

Connecticut police used the information to find the truck and Sastrom at his mother’s house.

Page suspects Sastrom’s latest charges will be heard in federal court because of the bank robbery and the crimes ranging across multiple states.

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