FELIXSTOWE: Fugitive security guard “Fast” Eddie Maher – the man who committed the perfect crime – is today starting his 20th year on the run.

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His daring theft of a supposedly impregnable Securicor van and its £1 million contents from Felixstowe remains one of Suffolk police’s most intriguing cold cases.

While no case is ever truly dead, there is always the chance that new evidence to lead detectives to Maher could come forward.

But after all this time a mistake by the thief remains the best chance of him being found.

That would seem unlikely as the master criminal has survived two decades so far, but it can never be ruled out.

Over the years there have been sightings in nearly 20 countries and, as with any unsolved crime, the file is still open and police would check out any new leads extremely carefully.

It was just after 9am on the morning of January 22, 1993, when 15 minutes of cool, calm, calculated villainy made Maher, then 37, a millionaire.

After arriving at Lloyds Bank in Hamilton Road, Felixstowe, Maher waited in the security van while his fellow security guard went inside to make a delivery.

While his colleague – who had no part in the robbery at all – chatted and joked to the bank clerks, Maher made his move, driving away the armoured van.

The ex-fireman and expert locksmith, known to have gambling debts, drove to the seafront, parking in Micklegate Road, where he unloaded the 50 bags, containing £1m in coins, £20 and £10 notes, into a Toyota Previa spacecruiser vehicle with false number plates and which had been stolen earlier in London.

It is not known if he was helped, but police believe he may have had an accomplice.

The Toyota was then driven to a car park on the nearby Landguard peninsula.

All the money was transferred into a car – and within minutes Maher was on the A14, bound for an airport and the USA.

The Toyota was found abandoned at Landguard with a pair of Securicor uniform epaulettes nearby. The getaway car was found torched in Essex.

There was no sign of Maher. His getaway was a complete success because it was initially some minutes before it was even realised that he was missing and 45 minutes before the security van, equipped with a tracking device, was found.

Police later discovered that Maher’s girlfriend Debbie and their son Lee, then aged four, had already booked into a hotel in Boston, USA, before the crime was committed.

FBI agents believe the family assumed a false name in the States and went into hiding .

However, the Mahers will never be completely safe, and will always looking over their shoulders.

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