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Fugitive Caught After Six Years on the Run

May 8, 1985

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) _ Carl Eric Decker had been Bruce Wiggin so long he had just about convinced himself he was no longer a convicted robber and parole jumper, authorities said.

″He told me as far as he was concerned, Carl Eric Decker didn’t exist anymore,″ Arlington police Detective Tom LeNoir said. ″He was convinced he was Bruce Wiggin.″

But Arlington police this week discovered otherwise, and Decker is being held in Tarrant County Jail in Fort Worth, police said.

Wiggin had credit cards and a Louisiana driver’s license. He even got married. An informant gave him away, police said.

″I take my hat off to him,″ LeNoir said Tuesday. ″Just the fact he could be gone for seven years. It wasn’t like he was living in hotels and was running all the time.

″The fact was he had assumed a whole new identity.″

Decker began his new life by obtaining a Norfolk, Va., library card as Bruce Wiggin, LeNoir said.

He chose a new Social Security number and a new birthdate, adding 10 years to his age. He lived in Florida, Georgia and Louisiana before finally settling in Arlington.

While in Louisiana, he once was on the front page of a newspaper when a building collapsed on him while he was doing construction work. He avoided reporters and shied away from cameras.

Decker was paroled from a Virginia prison in 1977 while serving a sentence for three armed robberies. His parole would have been completed Feb. 13, 1979, but a warrant for parole delinquency was issued Jan. 19, 1979.

Virginia authorities plan to seek Decker’s extradition and say they aren’t interested in his life as Bruce Wiggin.

He might also face the Internal Revenue Service.

″Bruce Wiggin hasn’t paid taxes in six years,″ LeNoir said.

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