Inmate captured after 48 years on the run

Robert Stackowitz slipped away from a prison work camp in Georgia, according to the state's Department of Corrections, on Aug. 22, 1968. Photo / Supplied
Robert Stackowitz slipped away from a prison work camp in Georgia, according to the state's Department of Corrections, on Aug. 22, 1968. Photo / Supplied

Almost 50 years ago, Robert Stackowitz slipped away from a prison work camp in Georgia, according to the state's Department of Corrections.

He escaped on Aug. 22, 1968, while serving a 17-year sentence for robbery by force, a crime for which he was convicted in April 1966.

Decades later, though, authorities finally tracked him to a home in Sherman, Connecticut, Now, nearly 48 years after that escape, Robert Stackowitz is back behind bars.

"There were no issues when they went to arrest him," supervisory inspector Tony Schilling of the U.S. Marshals Service told The Washington Post on Tuesday. "He admitted who he was."

Stackowitz, who is now 71, was arrested Monday, according to a Marshals Service news release, which said that the inmate had escaped from the infirmary.

Stackowitz was jailed in Connecticut after his capture and was waiting to be extradited back to Georgia, according to the Marshals Service.

Gwendolyn Hogan, a Georgia Department of Corrections spokeswoman, said in an email that work on the cold case began about five months ago. Authorities from the state's Department of Corrections worked with the Marshals Service to piece together Stackowitz's whereabouts, officials said.

"It was investigators within our GDC Fugitive Apprehension Unit who found a copy of an old driver's license photo and compared it with a photo that we had on file," Hogan wrote. "This was the initial find in the investigation that drove them to confirm that it was Robert Stackowitz."

Authorities who track escaped inmates don't just search for recent fugitives, Schilling said, they also go back over cold cases in the system. This particular case started with a database search, Schilling said, and that led to photographs. Investigators pulled pictures up on a computer screen and noticed similarities, Schilling said.

"This one was pretty obvious to us. . . . It looked like one of those age progression photos," Schilling said.

The Associated Press also credited a Social Security application, reporting that the paperwork "played a role in his capture." The wire service reported that Stackowitz "lived alone and ran a boat repair business out of his home."

He was living just a couple of miles from the office of Michael Saraceno, a state trooper who works in Sherman, according to the Associated Press.

"He was a little speechless," Saraceno told AP. "I think it's been so long that I think he reached a point in his head where he thought they would never find him."

- Washington Post

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