Neighbors knew Edward John Maher as a family man and cable company employee in Ozark, Mo. But in Britain, “Fast Eddie” was known as a notorious criminal, who had been on the run for almost two decades after a $1.6 million heist.
The 56-year-old fugitive was taken into custody after posting bond for his adult son on an unrelated matter, the Kansas City Star reports. While there, Maher filed a complaint about a stolen gun and became suspicious that his true identity was revealed. Police say they received an anonymous tip that he was “a fugitive wanted in England,” the BBC reports.
Maher’s son, Lee King, later told police his father was “irate” leaving the station. In response, local authorities contacted the FBI, spokeswoman Bridget Patton told the Star. Authorities interviewed King and set up surveillance on Maher, who checked into a motel soon after the incident. King then notified the FBI that his father returned home and would not resist arrest.
Maher spoke with immigration and FBI agents, and admitted to living under his brother’s name, Michael Maher, since moving to the United States. He also told a judge he is “financially unable” to afford legal representation in the case, according to the BBC.
“My dad is one of the nicest guys you’ll meet. He’s only ever done what’s good for us,” King told Springfield television station KSPR. King also admitted his family moved around a lot growing up but thought it was because of his father’s job.
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“I just don’t want people to see him in a bad light for something he did 20 years ago. There’s no way he’d ever do this by choice,” King continued. “He wouldn’t just do it to do it. He doesn’t commit crimes, and he’s the one that gets me out of trouble.”
Maher vanished from Suffolk, England in 1993, when he was employed as a security guard at an armored car company. Authorities believe Maher stole $1.6 million while making a delivery to a local bank with a co-worker. While the co-worker was inside, Maher allegedly drove off with the cash. The media dubbed him “Fast Eddie” for his successful and swift heist.
Meanwhile in Ozark, neighbors are shocked by the news. Brenda Morris, the manager of the apartment complex where Maher and his wife lived, noted “they were very well-loved around here. I would trust them with my life and all my money. They are good friends of mine, and I love them dearly.”