A discarded letter that aroused a maid's suspicions led to the arrest of a fugitive from Oregon whose case was featured last month on the television program "Unsolved Mysteries," authorities said.
Steven Cox, wanted for allegedly bilking investors of up to $3.5 million in 1984, was arrested Wednesday by National Park Service rangers after they were tipped by the maid, who had cleaned Cox's motel room at Lake Mead, said chief ranger Newton Sikes."She found a discarded piece of paper, apparently a letter he had written to someone and then thrown away, while cleaning the room," Sikes said. "She noticed it had a phrase in it saying, `The Unsolved Mysteries program was a bombshell.' "
Sikes said the maid notified rangers, who went to the room at the Lake Mead Lodge and found the man gone. They went into nearby Boulder City and spotted his car at a restaurant, where he was apparently having breakfast, Sikes said.
When Cox left, rangers followed and pulled his car over on a road that leads around the lake. He was arrested and turned over to the FBI in Las Vegas.
Sikes said he didn't know if the maid, whom he didn't identify, had watched the NBC-TV program.
"I'm impressed that she did something," he said. "A lot of people wouldn't have picked up on that."
Cox, 38, disappeared from Medford, Ore., in 1984 with the contents of the safe of his S.D. Cox Investments Inc.
Hundreds of investors said they lost a total of $3.5 million through Cox, who offered eight to 24 percent returns on real estate and accounts receivable, authorities said. A 1984 prospectus listed assets of $2.8 million.
Disappearing along with Cox was his former wife, Deborah Cox, and partner, Bud Richmond, authorities said. Richmond later served prison time for his part and Ms. Cox returned to Medford, but was never charged, authorities said.
After the TV show was broadcast Nov. 30, FBI agents tracked Cox to Boise, where he was living as Robert Bradley Davis, a coin and baseball card dealer.
FBI spokesman Tom Nicodemus said his agency had lost sight of Cox three years ago before finding him again in Boise.