Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods
Famous Fugitives
GEORGE WRIGHT
GEORGE WRIGHT
George Wright, now 68, was captured after 41 years on the lam after his part in the infamous July 31, 1972, hijacking of Delta Flight 841 headed for Miami, Fla. Wright, dressed as a priest and armed with a handgun he had in a hollowed-out Bible, along with two men and two women (and three children), seized the plane as it reached Miami. On the ground, they demanded a $1 million ransom, to be delivered by F.B. I. agents dressed only in bathing suits. Once the money was on board, the 88 passengers were allowed to deplane, but hijackers held on to the flight crew and demanded that the plane be flown to Boston, where it was refueled and continued on to Algiers.

The hard-line socialist Algerian government had granted sanctuary to Black Panther Eldridge Cleaver in 1968, and in this case returned the money to U.S. authorities, but not the hijackers. Some of the hijackers were arrested in Paris, France, in 1976, but there were never any leads on Wright, who was also wanted by police for escaping from the Bayside State Prison in Leesburg, New Jersey, where he was serving a 15-30 year sentence for murder. In 2002 a fugitive investigator with the New Jersey Department of Corrections working with the U.S. Marshals Service got a lead that ultimately led to Wright's September 26, 2011 capture. Wright had been living a quiet life in a seaside resort near Lisbon, Portugal.

Wright plans on fighting extradition to the U.S.
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