Ryan Buell, who founded Penn State's Paranormal Research Society and starred in the reality television series "Paranormal State," was arrested in South Carolina on Sunday after State College Police filed felony theft charges against him last week.
Buell, 34, is facing felony charges of theft of leased property and receiving stolen property, as well as a misdemeanor count of theft of services, after he allegedly rented a car in August and never returned it. Charges were filed on Sept. 14 with Centre County District Judge Carmine Prestia. He was arrested on an active warrant in South Carolina, where he was raised.
According to the affidavit of probable cause filed by State College Police, the manager of Eagle Automotive told police he rented a Kia Sportage to Buell on Aug. 1. As a courtesy, the manager said he attempted to extend the rental on Aug. 8, but that the credit card provided would not cover the cost.
The manager then attempted to contact Buell by phone and email, and finally by certified letter giving him a week to return the vehicle, according to court documents. When Buell still did not respond, police attempted to contact him by phone and by Facebook messenger. Police say Buell did not respond, but that Buell's Facebook account showed posts after an officer had sent him a message. Police also found that the residence address Buell provided to the rental company was allegedly not valid.
At 19, Buell founded the Paranormal Research Society at Penn State, and in 2007 that was parlayed into the A&E reality series "Paranormal State," which followed the group as they investigated supposed hauntings. Buell graduated from Penn State that same year with degrees injournalism and anthropology.
The show aired until 2011. Aside from criticisms that the show peddled pseudoscience, multiple episodes were criticized even by believers in the paranormal for allegedly staging the "hauntings."
Buell, who also authored the book "Paranormal State: My Journey into the Unknown," maintains a strong fan following. But in 2014,he angered fans when he canceled shows on his "Conversations with the Dead" tour and they didn't receive refunds tickets already purchased.
He also canceled shows in 2012, saying that he was battling pancreatic cancer and later talked about his diagnosis with People magazine.
On Tuesday, his mother, Shelly Bonavita Lundberg, posted on Facebook asking her fans to stop "stop enabling his situation by sending money, buying tickets to events that may never occur, buying merchandise/phone calls you may never get, paying money to watch him on Twitch, and giving him offers of shelter."