The man had been on the run since Friday when he fled the psychiatric ward of the Karsudden Hospital in Katrineholm, central Sweden. Police warned that he had been in and out of mental health institutions for 26 years and was heavily dependent on medication.
They also said he was prone to dangerous outbursts and could be violent.
Officers waited until Saturday to release an image of the man – in which he sported a striking red, flowing beard – in the hopes the public could help track him down, but it wasn’t his mugshot that led to his arrest.
In fact, the fugitive had shaved off the beard and was unrecognizable to officers who pulled him over on the E4 highway on Monday in Linköping, central Sweden.
The only reason police identified him was due to the fact that he was driving his own car which had been flagged by authorities.
The man’s capture was undramatic, according to police, with the 54-year-old initially lying about who he was. The police saw through the ruse, and took the escapee to the police station.
“We want to find out what happened while he was on the run, we don’t know whether he has committed any crimes,” Fredrik Wallén of the Södermanland County police told the TT news agency.
The 54-year-old was convicted for aggravated rape in 1987, and was admitted to the Karsudden ward in 2005.
The man has been under psychiatric care for 26 years, during which time he has committed several crimes, including coercion, theft, and violence against officers.
The man will be taken back to hospital as soon as possible.