SWAT team arrests fugitive
Police: Suspect threatened to shoot

DULUTH - FBI officials in Minnesota have been hankering to get their hands on Joseph Gregory Vansickle - a fixture on the agency's most wanted list - for years.

But the accused child molester has been in hiding 1,100 miles south of St. Paul, Minn., since about the turn of the decade, officials said.

Documents show Vansickle has been living in Duluth - under the aliases "Nathan Savage" or "Kevin D. Legako" - and working as a commercial painter. Most recently, he's resided in an apartment complex near the Gwinnett Arena.

Following a SWAT team incident at that complex Tuesday, Vansickle will remain behind bars in Gwinnett for the foreseeable future, his cover apparently blown.

The 32-year-old is charged in Gwinnett with six counts of child molestation and giving a false name. Police said an 8-year-old Lawrenceville girl has accused Vansickle of molesting her over a seven-month period last year. Vansickle, under the alias "Nathan Savage," had been friends with the girl's father for several years, police said.

The short standoff between Vansickle and a Sheriff's Department SWAT team was triggered by the girl's recent accusation.

Gwinnett police questioned Vansickle after the girl's family filed a report alleging molestation. During questioning, Vansickle did not divulge his real name and was uncooperative with investigators, Gwinnett police spokesman Officer David Schiralli said.

Police released Vansickle but ran a national identification check. A short time later, FBI officials in Minnesota called local police indicating "Savage" was really Vansickle, wanted for sexual misconduct and failing to register as a sex offender, Schiralli said.

When Sheriff's Department deputies entered Vansickle's Woodiron Drive apartment to serve a warrant Tuesday, he barricaded himself in a closet and threatened to start shooting, said Stacey Bourbonnais, Sheriff's Department spokeswoman.

"When they heard him say he was going to shoot, they backed out of the residence and called SWAT," she said.

Vansickle surrendered without incident about 1 p.m. - less than an hour after SWAT personnel arrived - still claiming to be "Savage," Bourbonnais said. Police found no firearms in his home.

Bourbonnais said the fugitive had been among the Minnesota FBI branch's most highly sought suspects for several years.

Schiralli, the police spokesman, said Vansickle will be tried in Gwinnett County and then extradited to Minnesota to face pending charges in that state.