Timothy Tallmadge ran from Lakeland Regional Health wearing a hospital gown that he is now charged with stealing - on top of many other offenses.

A man with a criminal history, who Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd called a “true menace to society,” escaped from law enforcement custody at Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center for three hours Friday morning before being recaptured.

A Polk County Sheriff’s Office helicopter circled neighborhoods surrounding the hospital for several hours before dawn Friday as deputies and Lakeland Police officers searched for Timothy Tallmadge, 33.

Officials with the sheriff’s office said Tallmadge was a person of interest in a robbery investigation and had two active warrants, a petit theft charge from the PCSO, and violation of probation for possession of a weapon charge by the U.S. Marshals.

Deputies tracked him down on Wednesday, but they say Tallmadge ran from them. When deputies found him again the following day, he ran again, but they captured him. At that time, Tallmadge was arrested on the two warrants, and the PCSO added additional charges of resisting and fugitive from justice.

After he complained of pain, they took him to Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center to be checked. During a procedure early Friday morning – which officials declined to name on the record – that required that he be unrestrained, Tallmadge managed to run from the hospital wearing only a backless hospital gown.

As Tallmadge ran from yard to yard, hiding on porches and stealing clothes, PCSO deputies established a perimeter and kept him contained while they tightened the search area. Lakeland Police ultimately found him running northbound on Lake Parker Drive West near Channing Road and arrested him.

“If you run from the cops, you just go to jail tired.”

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd
Convicted felon Timothy Tallmadge, 33, was re-arrested Friday morning after escaping from LRHMC. | Courtesy PCSO

Two other agencies also had pending charges for Tallmadge on unrelated cases. Lakeland Police Department charged him with aggravated fleeing to elude, leaving the scene of a crash with property damage, resisting, and driving while license suspended or revoked. The Lake Alfred Police Department charged him with fleeing to elude and no valid driver’s license.

Now he faces additional charges from his hospital escapade: escape, resisting, three counts of occupied burglary for trying to hide on private property while fleeing, and two counts of felony petit theft for stealing a hospital gown from LRHMC and a shirt from a person’s property.

“Detectives are looking at every little thing he’s done so we can charge him for each and every crime he committed. This guy is a true menace to society,” Judd said. “We want to ensure that he gets sent back to state prison for a fourth time, and hopefully he’ll stay there for quite a while.”

His previous convictions in Polk County include a felony petit theft charge in February – at least his third conviction for that, which elevated it to a felony under state statute. He has served three prison sentences for charges from Manatee and Sarasota counties, including robbery with a deadly weapon, trafficking in drugs and burglary of an unoccupied home.

“Tallmadge now sits in the Polk County Sheriff’s Office jail,” PCSO spokesman Brian Bruchey wrote in a press release. “The old adage goes, ‘If you run from the cops, you just go to jail tired.’”

SEND CORRECTIONS, questions, feedback or news tips: newstips@lkldnow.com

Kimberly C. Moore, who grew up in Lakeland, has been a print, broadcast and multimedia journalist for more than 30 years. Before coming to LkldNow in the spring of 2022, she was a reporter for four years with The Ledger, first covering Lakeland City Hall and then Polk County schools. She is the author of “Star Crossed: The Story of Astronaut Lisa Nowak," published by University Press of Florida. Reach her at kimberly@lkldnow.com or 863-272-9250.

Leave a comment

Your Thoughts On This? (Comments are moderated; first and last name are required.)