Fugitive From Defiance Nabbed In Florida

A trea­sure hunter, orig­i­nally from Defi­ance, and accused of cheat­ing his investors out of their share of one of the rich­est trea­sure finds ever in U.S. his­tory — $50 mil­lion in gold bars and coins from a 19th-century ship­wreck — was cap­tured by fed­eral agents at an upscale Florida hotel after a search for the past two years.

Tommy Thomp­son was arrested this week at a Hilton Hotel in Boca Raton, Florida on a war­rant that was issued for his arrest back in 2012 after he failed to show for a hear­ing that was held as part of a law­suit brought on by some of his investors who allege he stiffed them.

The U.S. Mar­shals Ser­vice referred to the now 62 year old Thomp­son as “one of the most intel­li­gent fugi­tives ever sought” , say­ing he used cash and other means to live his life under the radar.

Thomp­son was a 1970 grad­u­ate of Defi­ance High School. He made his­tory back in 1988 when he dis­cov­ered the sunken SS Cen­tral Amer­ica, also known as the Ship of Gold, which went down in a hur­ri­cane about 200 miles off South Car­olina in 1857, along with tons of gold from the Cal­i­for­nia Gold Rush.

Thomp­son and his crew brought up about $50 Mil­lion worth of trea­sure from the wreck in 2000. But the investors who paid Thomp­son $12.7 mil­lion to find the ship never saw any of it.

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