The registered sex offender from Carthage who was wanted for allegedly groping and attacking women in the Tulsa, Okla., area last week, was caught Friday evening in the Carl Junction area.
Jasper County Sheriff's Capt. Derek Walrod said Jamie Thomas Hartness, 32, was captured shortly after 7:30 p.m. on Friday by two Jasper County Deputies and six officers with U.S. Marshals Service after a brief car chase south of Carl Junction.
"Our officers were going off tips of where he might be," Walrod said. "One tip led to one address, then that led to another address. Finally, officers were going to check an address in CJ and as they pulled into the driveway, they spotted a car pulling out at high speed. As it went past them, they checked the license number and it was the car they were looking for.
"He took off at high speed and they chased him for about a half a mile before he pulled over."
Hartness, whose last known address was 500 Central Ave., Carthage, has been identified by the Tulsa Police Department Sex Crimes unit, the Broken Arrow Police Department and Bixby Police Departments as the suspect who has been groping women and exposing himself in the Woodland Hills Mall area of Tulsa.
Tulsa police said in a written release that warrants has been issued for Hartness charging him with four counts of sexual battery and three counts of indecent exposure.
Tulsa area media reports say the Tulsa, Bixby and Broken Arrow police departments teamed up to investigate a string of sexual battery incidents that seemed to be connected to each other and all took place in the past two weeks.
"He goes into the store, approaches a female employee, he asks about memberships and a tour and she shows him a tanning bed in a room, and that's when he grabs her breasts through her clothing and takes off," Cpl. Leon Calhoun, of the Broken Arrow Police Department, told Oklahoma Channel 6 news in a report on the station's website, http://www.newson6.com/.
Walrod said he didn't know how long Hartness has been missing from Carthage. He was required to check in, but how often he had to check in depended on the severity of his conviction.
Walrod said Hartness registered as a sex offender in Jasper County after he was released from prison in 2010, but he is listed as non-compliant and has a local registration violation.
The local sex offender registration says Hartness was convicted of sex offenses three times, once in Arkansas in 2000 and twice in Missouri in 2002 and 2009. He was released from prison on Dec. 2, 2010 after serving 18 months in prison for second-degree sexual misconduct against a 30-year-old female victim.