Felixstowe: Eddie Maher may face court in the UK
EXTRADITION proceedings are set to be put in motion to return ‘Fast’ Eddie Maher to Britain 19 years after a daring �1million theft in Felixstowe.
The 56-year-old is in custody in America today after being detained in Missouri on Wednesday.
Maher – who had changed his name to Michael Maher, the same as his brother –was apprehended at his home in Ozark by FBI agents, police, immigration officials and US Marshalls.
Maher was working as a security guard for Securicor when he and a colleague went to Lloyds Bank in Hamilton Road, Felixstowe, on January 22, 1993.
They were making a routine Friday delivery. The other guard went into the bank and came out to find Maher and his two-tonne armoured van had vanished.
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Inside the vehicle was �1m in 50 bags containing �10 and �20 notes along with coins.
Maher was never seen again. Neither was his common-law wife Deborah Brett, of South Woodham Ferrers, near Chelmsford, or their son Lee.
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Yesterday Beth Phillips, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced Maher had been charged with being an illegal alien in possession of firearms in a federal criminal complaint filed in the U.S. District Court in Springfield. A Hi-Point .45-caliber pistol, a Jennings .380 pistol, a Mauser 7.62x39 rifle, and a Mossberg .22-calibre rifle were discovered when police searched his home.
Maher was originally detained on suspicion of three offences. Aside from the firearms’ charge, the FBI is investigating the alleged possession of false identification documents. Meanwhile immigration officials are investigating an alleged illegal immigrant offence.
According to documents filed with the court, Maher told federal agents that he began working in the United States in 1998 and has been using the identity of his brother, Michael Maher, who lives in England.
Police officers seized the firearms from Maher’s residence and from a storage facility in Ozark. Under federal law, it is unlawful for an illegal alien to possess any firearms or ammunition.
Maher had been living in Ozark with his wife who told US authorities her name was Deborah Ann Brett. The couple’s eldest son Lee and his younger brother are also believed to have lived with them.
Ozark Police Chief Lyle Hodges said a member of the public came in with the tip-off on Tuesday.
Mr Hodges said: “She said she believed the man was a fugitive. The officer did a little research online and determined it (the theft) had happened, and then got detectives involved. Once they had received the information they contacted the FBI.”
Mr Hodges added: “He was kept under surveillance while we determined if there was a case to arrest him. He didn’t go to work on Wednesday or the day before. I don’t think it was a surprise when he was arrested.”
Josh Nixon, FBI special agent supervisor for southern and south-west Missouri, also understood Maher was not surprised when he was detained.
He said: “From what my agents told me there may have been a sense of relief on his part.”
Suffolk Constabulary is understood to be liaising with the US authorities regarding bringing Maher back to Britain.
Mr Nixon said in his experience any extradition would likely to be a lengthy process.
His next court appearance is due before the same court on February 22 before a preliminary and detention hearing.