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Robbery suspect turns himself in after Thursday search

Man charged with purse snatching at hospital in January

POSTED: May 10, 2013 3:29 p.m.

A robbery suspect turned himself in Thursday night after four Gainesville schools were locked down that afternoon when police tried to serve a warrant for his arrest.

Rytavious “Tay” Ellison is charged with robbery by force in a Jan. 25 purse snatching at Northeast Georgia Medical Center, according to the Gainesville Police Department.

Lt. Michael Martin said a black man approached a woman, demanded her purse and ran from the area that night.

The investigation is ongoing and other charges are possible, police said.

Sgt. Stephen Wilbanks, spokesman for the Hall County Sheriff’s Office, said investigators and deputies from the office’s crime suppression unit worked along with Gainesville Police to make contacts that eventually led to Ellison’s arrest.

Ellison agreed to meet authorities just after 10 p.m. in a parking lot near the hospital to turn himself in. He was then turned over to Gainesville Police to be interviewed and booked, Wilbanks said.

The purse snatching was one of a string of incidents in January, many of which seemed to be unrelated as the times, places and suspect descriptions differed.

John Albert Glean, 30, was charged in February with armed robbery, battery, aggravated assault and robbery sudden snatching in connection with purse snatchings. Martin said police still are investigating whether the robbery Ellison is charged with is connected to other robberies.

Gainesville High School, Centennial Arts Academy and the Fair Street-Wood’s Mill complex were locked down as police searched for Ellison on Thursday afternoon in the neighborhoods surrounding the schools.

Gainesville City Schools Superintendent Merrianne Dyer said the schools were under a “code yellow” lockdown, meaning the outside doors of the schools were locked but students were still freely moving from class to class inside the building.

Dyer said lockdowns are a precaution any time police activity occurs in the area surrounding a school.


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