A robbery, a lotto win, a marriage gone wrong and Google: how daughter-in-law brought down 'Fast Eddie' with an internet search
Then and now ... Eddie Maher was arrested in February 2012, right, after disappearing in 1993. Photo: AP
A British man dubbed "Fast Eddie" who spent nearly 20 years on the run in the United States has been jailed for driving off with a security van containing £1.2 million ($1.8 million).
Eddie Maher, 57, had been a fugitive ever since the van he was driving disappeared from outside a bank in Felixstowe, eastern England, on January 22, 1993.
When the money ran out, she did a little research on Google on the name Maher and found out he was wanted for the theft
He pleaded guilty at Southwark Crown Court in London and on Tuesday was jailed for five years.
In a series of property investments which detectives said were funded by the proceeds of his crime, Maher bought a house in Colorado for $US120,000 six months after the theft, then built a 32-hectare ranch before moving around various US states.
He was working as a cable engineer in Missouri at the time of his arrest on February 9 last year.
Maher's lawyer, David Nathan, said the disgruntled ex-wife of his client's son had been his downfall.
"An extraordinary aspect of this case is that Mr Maher's daughter-in-law [Jessica] had originally been the partner of his son Lee's best friend," Mr Nathan said.
"Lee won a lot of money on the lottery and she left her partner to marry Lee. When the money ran out, she did a little research on Google on the name Maher and found out he was wanted for the theft.
"She heard that there was a £100,000 reward and she went to the federal authorities."
Speaking after the case, Detective Inspector David Giles, from Suffolk Police, said: "Over the years, Edward Maher has almost been portrayed as a Robin Hood character, someone who stole from a bank, where no one was injured.
"Maher took on a position of significant trust working for a security company, a position he abused, resulting in the theft of over one million (pounds)."
Prosecutors said they were still looking to trace three possible accomplices.