A high risk sex offender who escaped Friday from a mental health facility in Redwood City was arrested the next morning after being seen panhandling in San Francisco, according to the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office.
Derrick Sanders, 34, escaped early Friday morning from the Cordilleras Mental Health Rehabilitation Center, possibly through an elevator shaft.
"He was basically there for a treatment program,” said San Mateo County Sheriff Lt. Larry Shumaker. “He has a misdemeanor case and a sex offense against a minor in this county.”
The Sheriff's office told KTVU that around 9 a.m. Saturday, Sanders was seen panhandling at Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco by a local resident, who had recognized the wanted man from news reports and called the San Francisco Police Department.
SFPD officers responded soon after, confirmed it was Sanders, took him into custody and booked him into San Francisco County jail.
As of noon Saturday, authorities were waiting to transfer Sanders to San Mateo County Jail.
Sanders, a transient, has a history of violence and is mentally ill, according to the Sheriff's Office. At the time of his escape, he was facing misdemeanor charges in San Mateo County for a sexual offense involving a minor.
“He's a parolee, he has violence in his history, he has prior sex offenses in his history,” Shumaker said. “The fact he has also a sex offense with minors is definitely a high risk in our community.”
Officials at Cordilleras declined to say anything about what happened, but some who've worked nearby say this incident highlights a larger problem.
“I'm not surprised,” said Sharon Bertolucci, a Redwood City resident. “I've been in the mental health field and I've seen these budget cuts and as a result of budget cuts there's going to be incidents like this.”
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