Letter to the Editor - April 16, 2008

(Sheriff Hodgson is thankful for the spirit of cooperation shown in a fugitive’s capture)


The 13-day odyssey in which Anthony Fly, an alleged multiple rapist, tried to flee from the inevitable ended last Monday only a few miles from where it began when he was apprehended while hitchhiking with $800 in his pocket on Route 6 in Westport.

State Police Trooper David Reis, a member of the Violent Fugitive Apprehension Section, and State Police K-9 Trooper Robert Gilmore made the arrest after an alert U.S. Marshal spotted a man he thought could be Flye walking along the westbound side of Route 6 with his head bowed, glasses, a mustache, a hood over his head. He radioed for police to check the subject.

Roper Reis approached the suspect and asked his name. Without incident Flye’s flight was grounded. A manhunt that had spread nationwide ended almost where it began.

Fly’s capture was the denouement of a textbook example of what can and does happen when you enjoy the sharing of time, talent, expertise and dedication among law enforcement professionals.

I would be remiss if I did not mention the exceptional cooperation of the media in our effort to return to custody a fugitive who had a series of charges against him that made his continued freedom a danger to us all. The media helped disseminate the wanted posters, the information the public needed and particularly the stories that reminded Flye that eventually he would be caught.

The assistance of the general public resulted in calls that were helpful to our investigators.

The eventual capture of Anthony Flye should stand as a warning to anyone that criminal activity of any sort in the South Coast of Massachusetts and throughout New England will always be met with a collaborative response of law enforcement professionals at the federal, state, county and local levels.

From the moment that Flye made his escape form St. Luke’s Hospital, I became aware of the honor I have to serve among the men and women who work each day to keep us all out of harm’s way.

There was never a reluctance to offer technical assistance, additional personnel, or support for any sort as we began to focus on the immediate return to prison of a man who must answer for crimes that offend the sensibilities of every decent human being.

We all owe a debt of gratitude to the New England State Police Information Network for technical assistance that was invaluable. The New Bedford Police, especially Capt. Steven Vicente, provided constant help in the investigation. Chief Raymond O’Berg of Taunton assigned two detectives to the case when he could spare them.

Assistance came from the U. S. Marshal’s Office, the Maine State Police, the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office and Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office, both in Maine, provided intelligence. Wareham Police and the Plymouth County and Nantucket Sheriff’s Offices joined the hunt. Chief Lou Pacheco of Raynham and officials of the Immigration and Custom Enforcement aided us.

As with any attempt to say thank you there is a risk that someone or some agency is overlooked. Suffice it to say that my officers, while working around the clock for almost two weeks in an attempt to return Flye to custody, witnessed and outpouring of sharing that made hem proud of their vocation.

If I have neglected to mention anyone it was unintentional. I think when law enforcement actually gets down to teaching a course in Collaboration 101, the search for Flye ill be the first chapter of the book.

It was a classic example of hard-nosed, never-say-die detective work. There were indications that Flye was nearby and we had the assistance of area law enforcement in containing him and closing in on him each day.

My officers used the intelligence they gathered to build, day by day, an assurance that they were closing in on Flye. Their good police work was gradually building a space where he could operate that was approaching the size of the prison cell in which he now resides.

I owe gratitude and respect to all who proved to me and, I hope to you, that together we can begin to return the streets to the citizens and peace of our cites and towns.

Thomas M. Hodgson
Bristol County Sheriff

   
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