A 76-year-old Florida man who eluded authorities for 44 years after being convicted of violent sex crimes was captured and charged with passport fraud and identity theft last Wednesday, the U.S. Attorney's Office announced.
Clearwater, Fla. resident Douglas E. Bennett is accused of applying for a U.S. passport in July 2016 using the name, date of birth and Social Security number of a person who died in 1945. But investigators learned Bennett was wanted in Connecticut for a sex-crimes prison sentence he never served.
Bennett never turned himself in to serve his sentence, and in 1977, he allegedly took the identity of the unidentified person who died in 1945, and became a fugitive -- until he was arrested on Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020.
Bennett was arrested on federal and Connecticut state warrants, and a fingerprint match confirmed his real identity, the U.S. Attorney's Office said. Bennett had a Florida driver's license on him. The license listed the false-identity information next to Bennett's own picture.
If convicted of the fraud and identity theft charges, he faces a maximum penalty of 12 years in federal prison.
Bennett was convicted for violently attacking a 22-year old Wethersfield woman in her home, and then in a car with an accomplice, on Valentine's Day in 1974. An accomplice was never charged, the Courant reports. Bennett had been freed from custody after posting a $25,000 appeal bond and disappeared in 1976 after losing the appeal.