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UK police arrest fugitive armed robber

May 7, 2014

LONDON (AP) — British police say they have caught a fugitive armed robber nicknamed “Skull Cracker,” five days after he escaped from prison.

Michael Wheatley was given 13 life sentences in 2002 for a series of violent raids on banks. He absconded Saturday from a low-security prison in southeastern England after being granted a day release license.

Police said Wednesday they arrested the 55-year-old Wheatley and another man in east London on suspicion of conspiracy to commit armed robbery.

The arrests came after a branch of the Chelsea Building Society in Surrey, near London, was robbed earlier Wednesday.

Wheatley got his nickname for striking his victims with his pistol during the bank raids.

The case has prompted critics to call for tighter rules for day release licenses.

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