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Repeat offender familiar to Wood authorities

A repeat offender keeps drawing the attention of law enforcement in Wood county. He has no listed residence, but 51 year old Rusty Pruitt is well known to several east Texas law enforcement agencies.

"We are very familiar with Rusty Pruitt, mostly for theft offences some others a little more serious, possession of controlled substance. We've been dealing with Rusty Pruitt since 1995," says chief deputy Wes Criddle of the Wood county sheriffs office.

"In Wood county we've had Pruitt in our jail on 12 different occasions. We've had nine warrants for him," he adds.

We filed and open records request and found that Pruitt is a suspect in 11 other Wood county cases ranging from theft to sexual assault. Another check shows Pruitt had low bonds several times, and 5 motions to revoke in court meaning he's been put back on probation each time. Victims are angered he keeps getting out. How is he doing it?

"The reason people are getting upset the reason these people are getting out like mister Pruitt, we don't get to set the bail we can get the warrant we can go out and arrest him. But the bond is set by the judge and its everybody's constitutional right to make bail," Criddle says.

He was even caught stealing a television from the charitable organization Helping Hands of Hawkins.

"We caught him on surveillance camera, it was quite a shock and its very disappointing when you have an agency designed to help people and then people are coming to steal from that agency. When you see repeat offenders over and over again for the same offence I just wish something could be done," says Hawkins Helping Hands director Jeff Karlson.

Pruitt has arrest records in Smith , Upshur and Wood counties ranging from theft to evading arrest, and was just released July 5th on his last arrest.

"He's habitual, apparently he's not catching on like other people do," Criddle says.

Pruitt remains free after making bond on his last arrest in Wood county on theft charges.

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