LOS ANGELES — A fugitive wanted in a celebrated 1983 Los Angeles bank robbery eluded capture this week by federal authorities, who discovered he had been working as the food services director at a University of Maryland campus.
Derrick Alan Stevens, 47, is wanted in connection with the holdup of a savings and loan on South Figueroa Street, from which four robbers stole more than $228,000 in October 1983.
Then the biggest bank robbery in Southland history, the theft gained notoriety because the robbers wore costume masks--one with the likeness of former President Richard Nixon. They also killed a Vietnamese immigrant before the robbery when they stole his van for a getaway. Three of the robbers were captured, tried and sent to prison--one for life, and the other two for 15 years. But Stevens has remained at large.
On Monday, two Princess Anne, Md., city employees called authorities when they noticed that an FBI poster hanging in the town police station bore a striking similarity to Derrick Anderson, food service manager at the University of Maryland-Eastern Shore.
The FBI was alerted and officers tried to arrest Stevens but he apparently slipped out of a college dining hall before they arrived, according to the Salisbury, Md., Daily Times.
The FBI's Baltimore office released a statement saying it believed Anderson the food service manager was identical to Stevens the fugitive, and appealed for information about the Youngstown, Ohio, native who has an extensive criminal history that includes bank robbery, car theft, burglary and arson.
Stevens, of Salisbury, was hired in 1994 as acting director of food services and later named director, the university said in a statement. He had previously worked with Gourmet Food Services and came to the university with "strong letters of recommendation," the school said.
Stevens earned $70,000 a year in salary and supervised a staff of 50 at the university.
"It's just so hard to believe, particularly for an individual who works so hard and has had such a positive effect on the entire campus," said Ronnie Holden, the university's vice president for administrative affairs who has known Stevens for nearly 13 years.
"It took us all by surprise. It's difficult to comprehend."