British man wanted in '93 heist nabbed in Missouri

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OZARK, Mo. (AP) -- A British armored car guard suspected of driving off with a fortune worth more than $1.5 million back in 1993 has been captured in rural Missouri, where he had been working as a cable guy and raising a son who apparently knew nothing of his father's past.

Edward John Maher was dubbed "Fast Eddie" in news reports after the heist in England, but he quickly vanished. After nearly two decades as a fugitive, he was arrested Wednesday in an apartment in the tiny town of Ozark, 160 miles southeast of Kansas City.

Police arrested Maher, who was living under a different name, after receiving a tip about his true identity.

Maher is accused of driving off in an armored 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 1 million pounds, or $1.5 million, were missing.

Investigators believe Maher moved several times since the crime and had lived in Ozark for about two years, said FBI agent Josh Nixon, who oversees the agency's office in nearby Springfield.

It's unclear why he moved to the small community, said Nixon, who declined to reveal the suspect's alias.

Maher was being held Thursday by Immigration and Customs Enforcement on immigration and weapons violations.

Maher's adult son, Lee King, told KSPR News that he was stunned by the arrest.

He said his mother told called him Wednesday and told him he has a different last name, is two years older than he thought and was born in the United Kingdom a few years before the heist.

"My dad is one of the nicest guys you'll meet. He's only ever done what's good for us," King said.

He said he couldn't believe his father capable of carrying out such a heist.

"I just don't want people to see him in a bad light for something he did 20 years ago," King said. "There's no way he'd ever do this by choice. 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."

King said his family moved a lot in his life, and that his father said it was because of his job.

Brandon Wise, a neighbor of Maher's, told KSPR that Maher lived with his wife, Sarah. It wasn't immediately clear if she is King's mother, Deborah Brett, who checked into a Boston hotel with their son the day before the heist.

Wise said Maher worked for Suddenlink Cable and stayed to himself.

"I never really saw the husband," Wise said. "He was kind of in and out in the Suddenlink truck, that's all I saw of him."

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Information from: Springfield News-Leader, http://www.news-leader.com