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Vermont Fugitives Mistakenly Omitted On FBI List - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Vermont Fugitives Mistakenly Omitted On FBI List

Burlington, Vt -- March 8, 2005

A paperwork mistake may have helped at least 500 of Vermont's most wanted fugitives avoid capture for decades, according to police investigators. 

Police investigators say they have already started looking into the possibility  there may be hundreds more.

Authorities  discovered the warrant problem  three weeks ago after, Edward Bessette, Vermont's "most wanted" fugitive, died in New Hampshire ending  his 16 years of  life on the run.

The Burlington man disappeared  in 1989 while awiating trial on a charge of sexual assault on a child.

Police were surprised when they learned Bessette's warrant  had never been entered on the FBI's NCIC (National Crime Information Computer).

The NCIC is the national arrest warrant repository that police rely on to identify and capture fugitives who flee toother states.  

The Bessette discovery triggered suspicion that  other Vermont fugitives were missing from the NCIC.  

A check of 560 Chittenden County warrants revealed  that at least 520 were not on the NCIC, according to Vermont State Police  Lt. Mark Lauer who announced the findings on Tuesday. 

Lauer says the warrants were not entered because Vermont authorities mistakenly failed to indicate whether  they would pay to bring captured fugitives back to Vermont. The FBI requires  that information or they will not list the warrants.

Vermont authorities are uncertain how the error occurred but they have already started fixing it so the warrants can be resubmitted for inclusion  on the FBI national computer.

State Police are already expanding their investigation to detremine whather fugitives from Vermont's other 13 counties may also have been mistakenly omitted over the past twnty-five years.

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