Felixstowe: FBI special agent tells of events leading up to Eddie Maher’s detention

FBI agents and police swooped to apprehend “Fast” Eddie Maher amid claims he, and those close to him, were preparing to leave their US home, it emerged today.

Police have been hunting for Maher in connection with the theft of �1million from outside Lloyds Bank in Felixstowe 19 years ago.

Josh Nixon, FBI special agent supervisor for southern and south-west Missouri, said: “From what my agents told me there may have been a sense of relief on his part.

“We had got to a point where we believed he was going to leave and decided we would take to action to prevent him leaving.

“It was our assessment that they were concerned their identities may have been known to us.”

Maher, 56, was detained on Wednesday morning at the rented apartment he shared with is wife Sarah, in Ozark, Missouri.

The US authorities had been keeping Maher under surveillance for 24 hours.

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Maher was working for Securicor when he and a fellow guard went to Lloyds Bank in Hamilton Road, Felixstowe, on January 22, 1993.

His colleague went into the bank, and came out to find Maher and his two-tonne armoured van with �1m inside had vanished.

Maher, his common law wife Deborah Brett, and their three-year-old son Lee, were never seen again.

Police in Ozark received a tip-off about Maher’s whereabouts on Tuesday.

Ozark Police Chief Lyle Hodges said: “We received a tip from an individual who was apparently familiar with the family. She said she believed the man was a fugitive.

“The officer did a little research online and then got detectives involved. Once they had received the information they contacted the FBI.”

“He was kept under surveillance. He didn’t go to work on Wednesday, or the day before.

“I believe he was aware he was being watched and was making preparations to leave, from the information we received from other family members.

“I don’t think it was a surprise when he was arrested.”

Yesterday Beth Phillips, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, said Maher had been charged with being an illegal alien in possession of firearms.

A Hi-Point .45-caliber pistol, a Jennings .380 pistol, a Mauser 7.62x39 rifle, and a Mossberg .22-caliber rifle were discovered when police searched his home.

According to documents filed with the US District Court in Springfield, Missouri, Maher 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.

Suffolk Constabulary is understood to be liaising with the US authorities, although the FBI’s 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.