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The federal court released information last week of a fugitive from England living in the United States, being charged with illegal possession of firearms.
Now, as Paul Harvey would say, here’s the rest of the story.
The federal fugitive, Eddie Maher, was tracked down and arrested by Ozark Police Officer David Overcast. Overcast is an Ava native and Douglas County resident, and former deputy with the Douglas County Sheriff’s Department.
We got wind of Overcast’s involvement in the case last week, but waited for the Ozark Headliner to release the story in its Feb. 15 edition.
According to the Headliner, Officer Overcast received a tip that the individual was living in Ozark. He followed up on the information and got detectives and the FBI involved, and subsequently the arrest was made.
It seems Eddie Maher, also known as Michael Maher, allegedly committed the perfect crime 20 years ago when he robbed a Securicor van of approximately $1.5 million, while working as a security guard.
The newspaper story says he escaped to the United States with a woman and a child not long after the heist.
It is said Maher has been spotted in numerous countries over the past 20 years, but his run entered its final lap when his adult son was arrested by Nixa police on Feb. 6. From there the story began to unravel, and detailed investigation by Officer Overcast brought the full story to light.
Ozark Police Chief Lyle Hodges credits Overcast with being persistent in his investigation, using the Internet to learn about the armored car robbery and find a photo of Maher to support his investigation.
Eddie Maher is said to have used the name of his brother, Michael Maher, to obtain a Social Security number in the U.S.
Congratulations to Officer Overcast for his role in solving this international “cold case.”
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This week we salute the Ava High School FFA as local chapter observes National FFA Week.
I have tremendous respect for the organization, and the students and faculty members who make it happen. During my career with the newspaper I have been very involved with the FFA, visiting with students on the farm, observing their FFA projects, attending breakfasts and banquets and going on float trips, or just stopping by the classroom or the ag shop for various reasons. However, the closest I ever came to membership is having been made an Honorary Chapter Member some 30 years ago.
Listen to them talk – bankers, farmers, retail business owners, and school administrators. They all point back to FFA as the organization that taught them the skills they needed to succeed, whether it be the discipline of keeping an accurate record book or overcoming stage fright to stand in front of a group of people and recite the Creed or give a speech.
National FFA Week gives members a chance to educate the public about agriculture. But FFA is much more than just agriculture. It’s business. In FFA students learn vocational skills, leadership, entrepreneurship and teamwork. Give FFA members a task to perform and they’ll figure out how to do it.
It’s not by accident that FFA Week encompasses George Washington’s birthday. It was designated for that week in 1947 by the National FFA Board of Directors. FFA Week always runs from Saturday to Saturday, to include Feb. 22, Washington’s birthday.
Hats off to Ava FFA Advisors Brent Lakey and Tiffany Kauffman, and all the students who comprise FFA both locally and across America, as they observe National FFA Week.