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Ryan Epperson enters Judge Christie Mahn Sell's courtroom in General Sessions Court on Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2015, in Chattanooga, Tenn. Following his arrest on Aug. 19, he was bonded to the Grand Jury on Tuesday on multiple charges including drug possession, vandalism, theft and impersonation.

Led into the courtroom this morning in black-and-gray pinstripes, Ryan Epperson stopped before the judge to await instructions.

He listened while General Sessions Judge Christine Sell ordered him to avoid Erlanger Hospital, Parkridge Medical Center and CHI Memorial.

"Absent an emergency, you may not have access to those hospitals," Sell said.

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Ryan Epperson

"Any of them."

Epperson, the Hamilton County jailer who authorities say posed as a surgeon to enter Chattanooga's three major hospitals to steal narcotics, made his second court appearance Tuesday morning.

Epperson faces multiple drug, vandalism, trespassing and impersonation charges, the majority of which were bound Tuesday morning to the Hamilton County Grand Jury, said Bill Speek, his attorney.

Epperson will likely appear before Hamilton County Criminal Court in three months, Speek said. Until then, he is being held at Silverdale Detention Facilities on a $700,000-plus bond.

"We're focusing on getting him treatment while he's incarcerated," Speek said. "Our focus is going to be keeping another drug addict out of the penitentiary."

Epperson, 26,  was caught May 27 in Erlanger Hospital, wandering around the surgical suite in scrubs, carrying six vials of the painkiller Demerol in his pocket. He told arresting officers he was "feeding an addiction."

Chattanooga police also found a large bag of narcotics in his truck.

Epperson,  who also unsuccessfully ran for county register last year, posted bail shortly shortly after his May arrest. He "did well for a while," staying clean, Speek said.

Then he was arrested August 19 after a doctor at Erlanger recognized Epperson from "a picture supplied by hospital security," according to his affidavit.

Between 3 a.m. and 3:45 a.m. on August 15, a nurse heard movement but saw no one. Officials later found the door to the medicine room pried open. Meanwhile, the narcotics drawer of a computerized drug dispensary cabinet had been tampered with, according to his affidavit.

Speek said Epperson was not selling or repossessing these narcotics - one of the many charges he faces. 

Instead, Speek said, "we're dealing with behavior primarily associated with a horrendous addiction."

Earlier news report:

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