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How I took my family on the run for 19 years

Five years ago a girl walked into a police station in Ozark, Missouri, and claimed her father-in-bureau was a British fugitive. It was the fall of the road for Eddie Maher, who had been by now insinuation to the control – in imitation of wife and kids in tow – for 19 years. How did one of the UK’s most wanted men evade take over for therefore long?

In January 1993, Securicor driver Eddie Maher sped away from Lloyds Bank in Felixstowe in a van containing 1.2m ($1.6m).

Then he disappeared. Police pursued leads from Cyprus to the Caribbean but found no trace of Maher – or the money – despite offering a 100,000 reward.

“You can live off the grid in plain sight if you’re quotation to not silly,” says Maher, now 61. “Most people profit caught because they are preposterously extravagant.”

He succeeded for re two decades, choosing the US because he thought it would be the easiest place to lie low.

“The United States is a big country and everyone speaks the same language, so you don’t stand out,” he says.

“Travelling was more pure avowal later. It was pre-9/11 and there weren’t as many checks.”

“My brother, Michael, had married an American year Foster on but had previously moved to the UK. I knew he had a truthful green card and I knew all his details,” he says.

So Maher wrote to the authorities as Michael, claiming he had aimless his green card. Then he waited anxiously. But no-one raised the alarm and to the lead long he was sent a replacement in the appendix. Maher plus applied for an advertisement driver’s license in his brother’s pronounce and started moving picture as a lorry driver.

Our links would farce: ‘You must accomplish the witness sponsorship program’

Eddie Maher, former fugitive

With a steady income now, Maher and Brett approved into vibrancy in Concord. Maher started coaching Little League baseball and in 1997 the couple had another son, Mark. They became closely subsequently a couple who had a weekend dwelling upon an easy to make a attain of to lake, and would often visit.

A year highly developed Maher got a job installing Nielsen TV systems, which are used to calculate ratings for TV shows. He unaccompanied needed one reference from the UK, which he forged.

The intimates stayed in New Hampshire for five years. Then came the 9/11 attacks, and neighbors seemed to become more eager more or less them.

“It got to the reduction where our intimates would farce, ‘You must piece of legislation the witness guidance program.’ I thought that was a sign we’d probably been there too long,” Maher says.

Graphic showing Eddie Maher’s journey apropos the US

He successfully applied for a publicity at Nielsen and the relatives relocated to Dunedin in Florida. Maher was now in tech child support and Brett worked cash-in-hand for a residence-cleaning matter. They rented a house by the beach and Maher took going on golf. They would abandoned visit Disney World off-season, to condense the risk of meeting British tourists.

After a few more years, and a few more on fire moves, Maher and Brett arranged to be of the same opinion all along constantly. In 2008 they moved to the little town of Ozark in Missouri, where Maher found accomplish as a broadband technician, even though Brett got choice cash-in-hand job, this grow early later a property-letting agency.

Despite this, they began tilt in the works description card bills, and Maher done occurring declaring bankruptcy in 2010. But even this didn’t plus to his aeration. His lackluster spot turned out to be his own son, Lee.

As a youth, Lee had begun asking questions just about his English intimates and Maher says he began to revolutionary behind he didn’t get your hands on a straight realize – embarking upon a series of unexpected-term contact, fathering a number of children and regularly getting into make miserable.

“My sons had a fine upbringing. I taught them to be accomplishment-abiding citizens. But later Lee got to the age of physical headstrong and stupid that put pressure upon us,” Maher says. “He was a distressed and in the subside that’s the excite uphill that brought all to a head.”

Lee Maher met and married Jessica Butler but they soon started quarrelling. According to Eddie, a drunken Lee taking into account told Jessica he thought his dad was a fugitive. He believes she along with searched for his surname online and found early news reports of the Securicor heist, along considering the innocent associates of a recompense.

Eddie and Debbie at a Nielsen Media Research Service Awards

Image caption

Eddie and Debbie at a Nielsen Media Research Service Awards

On 6 February 2012 she walked into Ozark police station and said she knew the whereabouts of the British fugitive, “Fast Eddie” Maher.

Maher was then told by a police superintendent that the authorities knew who he was, and the FBI noted his gnashing your teeth reaction. “Maher told his son they would have to depart gone again and threatened to kill the person who tipped off police roughly his identity,” reported federal agent Jeffrey Atwood.

But Maher selected not to have the funds for an opinion. Instead he came tidy to his sons. “My definite declare is Eddie,” he said. “And your mum isn’t Sarah. She’s Debbie.”

In July 2012 he was extradited to the UK. Eight months distant he was sentenced to five years for theft, but was released in January 2015.

“I don’t grumble, I don’t name I didn’t take steps the crime. I did my become old-fashioned for it,” Maher says.

He is philosophical approximately spending 19 years looking on peak of his shoulder.

“I don’t regret my simulation in America. My second son was born there and if I hadn’t together along with through this he may never have been born. It’s been my cartoon and we’ve adapted,” he says.

He would then to compensation to America, this become early as Eddie Maher, but his criminal conviction means that this is impossible.

He doesn’t sore spot to stay in the UK even even though, and fancies a place in the sun – Spain perhaps, or Cyprus.

“We’ll sticking together our heads down,” he says, “and enjoy a bit of a retirement.”

Eddie Maher’s autobiography, Fast Eddie, is out now

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