Disaster averted. The man who threatened to kill Madonna years ago and trespassed on her property, and who was committed to a Los Angeles mental hospital last year, left the facility and was roaming free. With all the activity surrounding Madonna’s new album, the spotlight is currently shining brightly upon her, which made the news that her stalker was on the loose that much more disconcerting. Luckily, he has now been apprehended and returned to the mental hospital.

According to the Associated Press (via AOL), the authorities sought the public’s assistance in tracking down Robert Dewey Hoskins. Hoskins, 54, is described as “highly psychotic” and he can be extremely violent. He served a 10-year prison term for stalking and threatening Madonna. He was actually shot by a member of Madge’s security detail when he hopped the fence of the singer’s Hollywood Hills home. Clearly, Hoskins has taken action against Madonna and is a danger to her safety.

Hoskins was convicted of stalking via jury in 1996. Madonna actually testified against him, hestitantly so.

Authorities warned the public not to approach Hoskins and to proceed with caution; rather, people were encouraged to phone the police immediately.

Hoskins, who was also convicted of vandalism last July, had been committed to the mental institution last year but left last week.