Feds arrest Portsmouth fugitive in airport

April 17, 2013

Frank Lewis

PDT Staff Writer

A man wanted for rape in a Highland Bend incident has been nabbed by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers attempting to flee to Japan from Los Angeles International Airport. Authorities took Tyler Ross Fitzgerald, 21, into custody as he attempted to board a plane headed for Narita, Japan Monday.

Fitzgerald had been wanted by the Scioto County Sheriff’s Office suspected of rape and unlawful sexual contact with a minor. CBP officials confirmed that Fitzgerald was an exact match of an active arrest warrant issued about a month before on March 14 by the Scioto County Sheriff’s Office.

“October 22 (2012) is when we took the initial report,” Captain David Hall at the Scioto County Sheriff’s Office said. “It happened in Highland Bend on Highland Bend Road. He refused to be interviewed and contacted an attorney. We got a search warrant for DNA and sent it off for testing to BCI. Once the results came back we presented them to the grand jury.”

Fitzgerald was reportedly home on leave from the military at the time of the alleged incident.

“He was going to Japan,” Hall said. “And from the time of the search warrant until the time that the results became available, he was back in the military. This time he was ready to board a plane for Japan, to go back to the military.”

Todd C. Owen, CBP Director of field operations in Los Angeles said this was an example of the system working.

“This interception illustrates yet again the great work CBP officers do behind-the-scenes every day, to keep bad people from entering the United States, as well as apprehend fugitives trying the flee the country and evade justice,”Owen said.

CBP officers intercepted Fitzgerald prior to boarding the flight, took him into custody and turned him over to Los Angeles World Airports Police. The subject was arrested and an extradition was initiated.

The Office of Field Operations is responsible for securing the nation’s borders at the ports of entry. U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers’ primary mission is anti-terrorism. They screen all people, vehicles, and goods entering the United States, while facilitating the flow of legitimate trade and travel into and out of the United States.

During fiscal year 2012, CBP officers in Los Angeles apprehended a total of 519 wanted criminals, ranging from murderers, to child molesters to drug traffickers.

Scioto County Sheriff Marty V. Donini expressed his gratitude to the agencies for the apprehension of Fitzgerald.

Owen said additional information about the case is available by contacting Hall at the Scioto County Sheriff’s Office at 740-354-7566.

Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at flewis@civitasmedia.com. For breaking news, follow Frank on Twitter @FrankLewisPDT.