US 'Most Wanted' found working in Kent supermarket


Sean Lopes

Sean Lopes - wanted for the attempted murder and kidnap of an ex-girlfriend in the US - was arrested on Monday. He had been working in a supermarket in Kent and living quietly in Chatham with his partner, two children and a family dog.

So how was he found, and is the strangest place a criminal has been found hiding?


Lopes (47) was charged with the attempted murder and kidnap of his 22-year-old girlfriend in 2004. However, he skipped bail in New York and fled the US before his trial. He was tried in his absence in the US and given a 15-year jail sentence in 2005. The former science teacher was named as one of America's Most Wanted in 2006, and was described as a 'violent fugitive'.

The US authorities thought he was hiding in Trinidad and Tobago. In fact, according to the Mirror, he first moved to the UK in 2010 and lived in Basildon, Essex. The family then moved to Rochester in Kent, and then on to Chatham earlier this year. Sainsbury's confirmed that he had worked at their Pepper Hill store in Northfleet, Gravesend.

The BBC reported that the UK police took an interest after a member of the public raised concerns about him. He appeared at Westminster magistrates court and was remanded in custody.

Odd fugitive tales

It's an odd place to be found, but some of the tales of captured fugitives are very strange indeed. Here are five of the oddest:

In Taiwan in March this year, a man was arrested after an English-speaking policeman spotted the fact he was wearing a T-shirt with the word 'wanted' on it. The officer ran a check and discovered the man was on the run from drugs charges. It's thought the fugitive did not speak English, and had no idea what the slogan on his T-shirt meant.

Then there was the Polish man, found in March, after dodging thousands of pounds in child maintenance payments. The police were searching his home, and were about to leave when they heard a sneeze. The man was eventually found in a hole he had dug under his hallway - covered with a rug and a table.

In 2011 a prison inmate in Washington State escaped and went on the run. After leaving the prison he found a local cabin and knocked on the door asking to use the phone. Unfortunately for him, the resident was a prison officer - at the same prison - who recognised the prison shirt, and called the authorities.

In 2010 a New York fugitive was tracked down by dint of the fact he updated his Facebook page to say where he worked. Police posted their thanks on the page, saying: "It was due to your diligence in keeping us informed that now you are under arrest."

Then there's the UK's contribution to the list - John Darwin and his wife Anne - jailed for fraud in 2008. They had convinced their children, the police and the insurance companies that he had drowned in the sea while canoeing near Teeside, and collected £250,000. He reappeared in the UK saying he had lost his memory six years later - but was caught out by a photo of him and his wife - taken while he was supposed to be missing.

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