HOLLYWOOD, Ala. (WHNT) – A man on the run for nearly three decades is now back in custody. In the end– a simple application for a Social Security number led to his arrest.
Officials with the U.S. Attorney’s office say 74-year-old Stanley Shane Self has been a fugitive since his 1986 conviction on child molestation charges in La Paz County, Arizona. He had been living in Hollywood, in Jackson County, under the assumed identity of Terry Martell.
"The U.S. Marshall Service and then the Secret Service was here, presenting a photograph of a resident that was in Hollywood," Hollywood Police Chief Jason Hepler says. He says his department had stopped the man before, known around Hollywood as Terry Martell.
"We had stopped him several times and he had a Oklahoma drivers license with the name Martell on it," Chief Hepler says.
The stops were for mere traffic violations, and the fact his vehicle was still registered in Oklahoma, even though he'd been living at a home on Reed Street in Hollywood for a while.
Officials say the so-called Martell applied for a Social Security number last month. A clerk in the Social Security office in Albertville ran the name and discovered the real Martell had died in Utah in 1987. Stanley Self had been living for years under the person's stolen identity. Self presented a Rhode Island birth certificate and a Oklahoma driver's license in Martell's name when he applied for a Social Security number in Albertville on Jan. 5.
Hepler says that license always checked out. "When somebody hands you a driver's license that scans in your computer and decodes everything that's in it and comes back valid, you're going to believe that that's the person that you have," Chief Hepler says.
"This man skirted justice for many years, but he did not escape it," said U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance. "Thanks to an alert Social Security employee in Albertville and swift investigation by Social Security OIG and Secret Service agents, Self will soon face the punishment for his crimes committed more than 30 years ago in Arizona."
Self was arrested in Hollywood on February 3. He previously had lived in the Birmingham area, with addresses listed in Vestavia Hills and Mulga.
Plans to extradite Self to Arizona are in the works. He is currently being held in the Morgan County Jail.