48 Years Later, Feds Catch Up With Fugitive

| by Nik Bonopartis
Robert Stackowitz at 71 years old, left, and as a 23-year-old prisoner in Georgia, right.Robert Stackowitz at 71 years old, left, and as a 23-year-old prisoner in Georgia, right.

Robert E. Stackowitz didn't think authorities would ever catch up to him.

In 1968, a 23-year-old Stackowitz was serving a 17-year prison sentence for robbery in Georgia's Carroll County Prison Work Camp. Taking advantage of lax security in the prison's infirmary, Stackowitz escaped from the prison and eventually settled in Sherman, Connecticut, almost 1,000 miles away.

Stackowitz, now 71, lived a quiet life in the small town of 3,700, according to the Danbury News-Times. He ran a boat repair business out of his home, not far from western Connecticut's Candlewood Lake.

On May 9, Stackowitz answered a knock at the door and was greeted by a state trooper.

"He was a little speechless," Trooper Michael Saraceno told the News-Times. "I think it's been so long that I think he reached a point in his head where he thought they would never find him."

Stackowitz, who had been a fugitive for 48 years, surrendered to police without resistance, according to authorities. He was brought to a Connecticut jail and will be extradited to Carroll County, Georgia, the U.S. Marshals said.

The U.S. Marshal Fugitive Task Force and investigators from the Georgia Department of Corrections reviewed the half-century-old case earlier this year, according to the News-Times. The case, which had been dormant for decades, was given new life when Stackowitz applied for Social Security.

When authorities conducted a public records search, they found Stackowitz had used the names Bob Gordon, Robert Gordon and Robert Gordon-Stackowitz at various times during his years in Connecticut. They contacted the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles for a photograph of the man and when they received it, they recognized facial features even though he had aged substantially.

Stackowitz was held on $100,000 bail, and it wasn't immediately clear if he had an attorney, according to the Daily Mail.

The Marshals credited the Southeast Regional Fugitive Task Force with cracking the fugitive case. Since the task force's inception in 2003, the Marshals said, authorities have recaptured more than 20,000 violent fugitives.

Sources: Danbury News-Times, Daily Mail, U.S. Marshals Service / Photo credit: Georgia Department of Corrections via News-Times

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