Strip Search Suspect Released From Jail

A Panhandle man suspected of making hoax phone calls to fast food restaurants and encouraging management to strip search employees is out of jail while authorities determine if they detained the right person.

David R. Stewart of Fountain is being monitored by a tracking device after Circuit Judge Michael Overstreet let him out of jail. A court hearing is set for next week to determine whether to continue with the case against him.

Stewart had been held at the Bay County Jail since his arrest at home in July on a fugitive warrant from Mount Washington, Kentucky.

He is accused of calling several fast food restaurants in Kentucky and Massachusetts, posing as a police officer and ordering restaurant managers to strip-search employees.

Stewart has been held for 90 days, the maximum allowed by law for an extradition order. Stewart’s lawyer, Walter Smith, argued that detaining him longer would be illegal.

When Stewart returns to court, Kentucky officials will have to present evidence that Stewart is indeed the person who should be extradited to stand trial.