Authorities catch mental health patient who escaped SLO County facility

Benjamin Aaron Karp


A little more than a day after destroying property at the San Luis Obispo County Psychiatric Facility and then escaping, a fleeing mental health patient was caught at a campground in Pismo Beach. 

Benjamin Aaron Karp, 31, became agitated Saturday morning and destroyed property at the county facility. He then escaped wearing only blue scrubs and no shoes, according to the SLO County Sheriff’s Office. 

Deputies then issued a be-on-the-lookout warning to all law enforcement agencies in the county. Sheriff’s officials said Karp was not believed to be dangerous, but they instructed members of the public not to approach him.

At about 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, state parks rangers located Karp at the Pismo State Beach North Beach Campground, located at 399 S. Dolliver Street. Rangers notified sheriff deputies, and Karp was taken into custody without incident.

Deputies arrested Karp on charges of providing false identification to an officer, misdemeanor vandalism and felony vandalism. Karp was booked into the SLO County Jail, where he remains with his bail set at $102,000.