A NORTH CAROLINA FUGITIVE RETURNS TO JAIL AFTER ESCAPING IN 1959.
Greensboro News & Record-
September 29, 1999
Author/Byline: JANET A. BRINDLE
A crafty car thief - on the run for 40 years - was
finally caught after someone tipped off Florida deputies.
William Meggs, 64, was arrested Thursday by
Hillsborough County Sheriff's deputies in Tampa, Fla. Meggs was living under
the alias of Fred Culley, according to jailers there.
Meggs was convicted on Feb. 14, 1959, for stealing
a car in Guilford County, according to records from the North Carolina
Department of Correction. No home address is listed for Meggs on his arrest
record, which is more than 40 years old.
N.C. Correction spokeswoman Christy Hardee said
Meggs was sentenced to three years at the Stanly County Correctional Center but
was eligible for parole in June 1959. There are few remaining court records on
Meggs, but apparently, his parole was denied. He escaped from the prison
on Oct. 20 of that year, according to state records.
Hardee did not know if Meggs escaped while he was
part of a work crew or if he outwitted the prison's security measures.
The Stanly prison was closed this year, and Meggs'
records could not be immediately located by correction officials at the
Albemarle Correctional Institute, where those records were forwarded, Hardee
Another Department of Correction spokeswoman, Patty
McQuillan, described Meggs' heist as unique. He went to a car dealership and
asked to test drive a car.
While on his test drive, Meggs went to another car
dealership, where he traded the car in for another car.
Records don't indicate which dealerships were
Meggs was a fugitive for his crime until Thursday.
Deputies in Hillsborough County, Fla., were not
immediately available to comment on the nature of the arrest Tuesday night, but
jailers said Meggs was in custody in Tampa.
McQuillan said a parole officer in Tampa told her
that police got a tip about Meggs. He is likely to be paroled in Florida.
Apparently, Tampa law officials have known Meggs
and been friendly with him for many years, but they had no idea he was a
fugitive because he used an alias, McQuillan said.
Meggs is listed in North Carolina's inmate escape
directory as a white man with brown hair and brown eyes, weighing 180 pounds
and standing 6 feet 1 inch tall.
But Meggs isn't the state's longest missing
prisoner, according to records from the Department of Correction. One man
escaped in 1947 and still has not been found.
Copyright 1999 Greensboro News &Record