NJ fugitive captured after 40 years on the run

George Wright was serving time in prison for murder, escaped, hijacked a plane and eventually ended up in Algeria. He was arrested Monday, Sept. 26th.

September 27, 2011 11:31:57 AM PDT
A fugitive on the run for more than 41 years has been caught in Europe.

George Wright killed a man during a gas station robbery in Wall, New Jersey in 1962.

He was sentenced to between 15 and 30 years in prison, but escaped in 1970 with three others.

Federal authorities say two years later, he hijacked a Detroit to Miami plane. After receiving a $1 million ransom, Wright along with the others that hijacked the plane, released the passengers, forced the plane to Boston where they refuled and eventually took them to Algeria where Wright sought asylum.

The other suspects involved in the hijacking were captured in 1976.

Wright remained on the run until Portuguese authorities arrested him yesterday.

Michael Ward, Special Agent In Charge of the FBI's Newark Division, said, "The investigation into George Wright serves as an example of law enforcement strength and tenacity. Even after 40 years, the commitment of law enforcement is unwavering and through the vast contributions of a multitude of people in New Jersey, Washington, DC, and Portugal, Wright was successfully taken into custody. This case should also serve notice that the FBI's determination in pursuing subjects will not diminish over time or distance."

The United States is seeking his extradition from Portugal to serve the remainder of a 15 to 30 year sentence for a New Jersey state murder conviction.

Wright was convicted of the 1962 murder of a gas station owner in Wall, N.J. Authorities say Wright and three associates had already committed multiple armed robberies on Nov. 23, 1962, when Wright and another man shot and killed Walter Patterson, a decorated World War II veteran and father of two, during a robbery of the Collingswood Esso gas station in Wall.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report)