OZARK — A British security van driver suspected of making off with 1 million pounds in a brazen 1993 heist was arrested in rural Missouri, where he had apparently been working for a cable company under a different name.
Edward John Maher, who the British media dubbed "Fast Eddie" following the theft of 1 million pounds ($1.5 million) from the van he was driving before he disappeared, was taken into custody Wednesday at an apartment in Ozark, 160 miles southeast of Kansas City, according to Springfield FBI agent-in-charge Josh Nixon.
Maher's arrest stemmed from a tip to the Ozark police, and he was positively identified after police, federal marshals and FBI agents arrested him, Nixon said.
"He was fully cooperative when he was confronted," Nixon told The Springfield News-Leader.
British authorities believe Maher drove off in the van while a fellow security guard was making a delivery to a Lloyds Bank branch in Suffolk, England. The van was later found abandoned, with 50 bags containing coins and notes worth 1 million pounds.
Nixon said investigators believe Maher moved several times since the crime and had lived in Ozark for about two years, although why he moved to the small southwest Missouri community is unclear.
Nixon said Maher was using an alias, but Nixon declined to divulge it. Maher was being held Thursday by Immigration and Customs Enforcement on immigration violations.
Maher's son, Lee King, told KSPR News that he was stunned by the arrest. He said his mother 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 could carry 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. He was kind of in and out in the Suddenlink truck, that's all I saw of him," Wise said.