Cage fighter who faked death caught after armed robbery

Updated: 

When Reggie Perrin faked his death in the eponymous 1970s TV show, he managed to get away with it through a series of disguises - a strategy that cage fighter Charles Rowan must wish he'd adopted.

The Michigan man has just been given up to 40 years in jail for his part in an armed robbery that was carried out when he was believed to be dead.


Last spring, in an effort to avoid paying a drug dealer he owed $80,000, Rowan and his girlfriend Rosalinda Martinez cooked up a hoax, with Martinez telling Rowan's family that he'd been killed in a car accident. The family was convinced, organising a series of benefit fights, as well as a memorial service which Rowan actually watched from an upstairs room.

Just weeks later, though, Rowan and Martinez robbed gun shop Guns and Stuff with the help of accomplice Michael Bowman. During the robbery, Rowan hit Richard Robinette, the 75-year-old owner of the store, with a hammer and stole eight handguns.

This is where the false moustache really should have come in. Two days after the robbery, when a mug shot started circulating, Rowan's family realised he was alive after all, the New York Times reports.

"All three of us deserved to be punished for what we did," he told the paper. "Unfortunately, my life has been on a downward spiral for a few years. And finally, I just hit the bottom."

Tempting as it is to run away from problems by faking one's death, people that try generally do get caught out - often through the efforts of insurance companies suspicious about a claim.

In one of the most famous cases, teacher and prison officer John Darwin was exposed as being alive in 2007, five years after faking his death in a canoeing accident. He had spent those years living in secret with his wife Anne, who had claimed more than £150,000 on his life insurance.

More recently, American Travis Scott went for the belt-and-braces approach. Taking a leaf out of Darwin's book, he too left behind an abandoned canoe, but helpfully added wisdom teeth, hair, a suicide note and a shotgun to aid identification.

This level of overkill didn't help his case, and three months later he was arrested trying to get drugs using a faked prescription. He was given a 12-year jail sentence earlier this month.