herald

Monday 18 December 2017

Fast Eddie, security guard who fled with €1m in 1993, is found fixing TVs in US

A SECURITY guard suspected of driving off with a million pound (€1.1m) fortune in 1993 has been captured in a rural part of America, where he had been working as a cable TV installer and raising a son who knew nothing of his father's past.

Edward John Maher was dubbed "Fast Eddie" after the heist in England, but he quickly vanished.

After nearly two decades as a fugitive, he was arrested this week in an apartment in the tiny town of Ozark, Missouri.

In his effort to stay hidden, Maher fled with his family and may have moved several times within the US. Property records suggest he lived in four states.

FBI spokeswoman Bridget Patton said officials did not know what happened to the money.

Maher's guise began unraveling when police received a tip that a man going by that name was a fugitive.

An officer compared his driver's licence photo with a picture from 1993 and contacted the FBI, which also compared the photos and determined the two photos were the same man.



Identity

On the same day, Maher happened to be bailing his 23-year-old son out of jail in a nearby town when a police officer told him authorities suspected Maher was wanted in England, but they could not arrest him. Because there were no US warrant, police had no reason to take him into custody.

They arrested him later, after immigration officials determined he was in the US illegally.

According to an FBI affidavit, Maher's son overheard what the officer had said and asked his father about it.

The father "was irate," the affidavit said. "Maher told his son that they would have to leave again and threatened to kill the person who tipped the police off about his identity."

He is accused of driving off in an armoured car while a fellow security guard was making a delivery to a bank in Suffolk, England. The van was later abandoned. Fifty bags containing coins and notes worth a million pounds were missing.

"He's an amazing dad," said Lee King, who said he was Maher's eldest son.

"He cares for us, provides for us and takes care of us. He's been to every baseball game, football game. Everything we've ever done in our lives, he's been there for us."

Maher's wife, Deborah Brett, who also goes by the name of Deborah King, said: "He's a wonderful father and a wonderful husband. He's never hurt anybody. Never caused any harm to anybody."

While investigators were at Maher's home, Brett told them about several guns her husband had purchased since coming to the US. She said she didn't want the weapons around and showed officers where to find them in the home and in a storage facility in town.

In addition to immigration violations, federal prosecutors charged him with having illegal weapons.

hnews@herald.ie

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