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Facebook fugitive caught after 105 days

world Updated: May 27, 2009 13:52 IST

AFP
Highlight Story

The long arm of the law today finally caught up with a New Zealand fugitive whose 105 days on the run inspired a Facebook fansite, a song and a line of tee shirts.

William Stewart was caught in a rural part of the Canterbury region, on the South Island, after a farmer found the 47-year-old trying to steal one of his vehicles in the early hours of the Wednesday.

Police quickly swooped on the area and captured Stewart, who was sporting long hair and a bushy beard after more than three months as an outlaw.

Stewart's long evasion of the police inspired a band of supporters, who set up a site on Facebook, the popular Internet networking site, to chronicle his movements around the South Island.

One man was inspired to write a song entitled "Billy the Hunted One" in his honour words Stewart used to sign a thank you note carved onto a table at a property where he was believed to have stolen food.

Another man from Canterbury was selling "Where's Billy?" T-shirts on the Internet.

Police said they were frustrated by efforts to celebrate Stewart, who they described as a career criminal and methamphetamine user.

The hunt for Stewart began when he escaped arrest after threatening a police officer with a metal bar on February 10.
But he gave up quietly today, with police saying he looked relieved as he told them, "I've had a good run".