A Russian fugitive evaded arrest and became a minor celebrity by masquerading as a U.S. citizen hitch-hiking across the country for a record attempt, the state security service said Monday. Unsuspecting national television stations broadcast reports on an attempt by the man, who spoke only in English and wore an orange bandana, to claim a place in the record books by crossing Russia with no money or travel documents. But despite the publicity, he was not recognized. He was finally picked up by police after being spotted loitering at a university in the Volga river city of Samara, over 8,000 km (5,000 miles) from his native Primorye region, on Russia's Pacific coast. The hoax was uncovered last week by the Federal Security Service (FSB). They established that he was in fact a Russian citizen called Rustam Dzhumaliyev who was wanted by police for theft and suspected deception. He had already been convicted of theft at an earlier trial and his sentence banned him from leaving his home town.
Wednesday, May 09, 2007