Escaped Berkley County inmate arrested in Myrtle Beach

James Allen Sanders, courtesy of Myrtle Beach Police

An inmate who escaped from a Berkeley County detention center in January was arrested by Myrtle Beach police Friday morning.

James Allen Sanders, 39, was jailed in Berkeley County on a charge of Criminal Domestic Violence of a High and Aggravated Nature. The U.S. Marshals Service had been looking for Sanders since his escape on January 26.

U.S. Marshal Frank Conroy says Sanders had been living on the Grand Strand for several weeks, going by the name 'Kevin' and staying at Grand Strand Regional Medical Center.

Conroy said Sanders pretended to be a relative of a patient in a coma, used the showers at the hospital and ate meals there.

But when the patient starting coming out of the coma, and the patient's family arrived, Conroy said the hospital learned Sanders was not who he said he was. According to Conroy, Sanders was escorted off the property without security checking his ID.

We spoke with Grand Strand Regional Medical Center spokesperson Joan Carroza, who said they cannot confirm that Sanders was ever at the hospital.

She said there is no report from hospital security that anyone was posing as a relative of someone in a coma and asked to leave.

Conroy said they got an anonymous tip last Friday that Sanders had been seen at the hospital. They asked Myrtle Beach police to check it out, but Sanders was no longer there.

Conroy said he and other marshals visited the hospital on Monday for nearly nine hours and spoke with the hospital's Director of Plant Operations. He said they showed a picture of Sanders to security officers who confirmed it was the same person they'd escorted off the property.

What finally led to Sanders arrest in Myrtle Beach was a call from Celebrity Circle at Broadway at the Beach around 12:30 Friday morning. When police arrived, a woman was accusing Sanders of stealing her wallet inside Rodeo Bar. Two other women told police they helped Sanders get into a nightclub because he didn't have I.D.

A police report says security officers chased down Sanders, and when police questioned him, they found the wallet in his back pocket.

Officers said Sanders lied about his identity while being booked at the Myrtle Beach jail. That's when police discovered, through matching photos and fingerprints, that Sanders had escaped from the Hill-Finklea Detention Center.

On Friday morning, Sanders pleaded no contest to the Petit Larceny charge and guilty to Providing False Information to an Officer in a Myrtle Beach courtroom.

Berkeley County deputies asked the judge that Sanders be taken returned to Berkeley County.

The judge granted the request and sentenced Sanders to 30 days for each charge, but suspended the sentence since Sanders was returning to Berkeley County.

At a bond hearing in Berkeley County Friday night, a judge granted Sanders a $800,000 bond. If released, he will be required to wear GPS monitoring ankle bracelet.