After 40 years on the lam, South Carolina fugitive Jose Romero arrested in Dover

Isabel Hughes - Delaware Online

For 40 years, South Carolina fugitive Jose Romero successfully evaded capture, having fled the state in 1979 after being convicted of armed robbery.

That changed recently when Dover police arrested him for public intoxication following a trespassing complaint at a convenience store.

Dover Police Department officers were dispatched to the White Oak Road store on Saturday after receiving a complaint about a man trespassing. There, they found 64-year-old Romero, whom they initially charged with public intoxication and trespassing. 

Romero gave officers a Delaware ID with the name Arnaldo Figueroa, which was also the name he gave officers, police said.

Officers processed Romero under that name during his arrest, and the 64-year-old signed all of the legal documents using the "Arnaldo Figueroa" name.

On Monday, the Delaware State Bureau of Identification contacted Dover police, saying the fictitious "Figueroa's" fingerprints came back to Jose Romero, who was wanted out of South Carolina.

Police later learned that Romero had fled a work crew on Dec. 13, 1979. He was serving an 18-year sentence for an armed robbery, the Anderson Independent Mail reported. Though Romero had been released following his Saturday arrest, on Wednesday, Dover police found him walking near White Oak Road.

He was rearrested and charged with being a fugitive, forgery and criminal impersonation. He is currently being held at Sussex Correctional Institution on $18,000 cash bond while he awaits extradition to South Carolina.

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