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Fugitive on run for 10 months caught after updating Facebook
A TRAVEL agent employee who stole £8,000 from a safe before going on the run in Scotland for 10 months was collared by police after posting his location on Facebook.
Fugitive Craig Munnerley, aged 33, of Cheryl Drive, Widnes, stole the cash when working at Co-op Travel in Warrington town centre in January.
Chester Crown Court heard how he evaded capture by changing his surname to Hilton, but after creating a new Facebook page he failed to make privacy settings.
Officers from Cheshire Police, searching for his new name, found the Facebook account and a status update which said Munnerley had started work in a catering position at First Scot Rail in Glasgow.
The update included his start date.
Police travelled to Scotland as Munnerley started an induction week, arresting him as he arrived at the head office.
PC Graham Davies and PC Kate Hall, from Cheshire Police, made the arrest following the lengthy investigation.
PC Davies said: "I nearly fell off the chair when I saw that he had decided to not only leave his Facebook profile unprotected but also list his new employer.
"It was very rewarding to get this offender.
"Theft from an employer is a fundamental breach of trust and Munnerly had clearly thought himself beyond the reach of the law.
"With his new name and new job it must have been pushed to the back of his mind."
Munnerley was jailed for a year after pleading guilty to theft.
The court heard he had been working at Co-op Travel for three months when stealing the cash.
CCTV showed him accessing the safe on January 7 last year, with colleagues discovering the missing money the following day.
The defendant did not show up for work having already left Widnes without telling anyone, his partner reporting him missing to police.
Officers were unable to locate him and the search stalled.
Then in September, an anonymous tip-off revealed Munnerley had been using the Badoo.com dating website with an address registered in Edinburgh.
When police swooped he had already left.
However, sick pay claims from a nearby hotel where Munnerley had been working, and a subsequent check by the Department of Work and Pensions, meant the name change to Hilton was uncovered.
His Facebook page was then discovered.