Escaped terrorist captured


MILFORD, Pa. -- A Yugoslav terrorist who escaped federal prison by using a stuffed dummy trick was caught sleeping behind a building and captured without a fight Saturday on his second day on the lam, authorities said.

Zvonko Busic, 41, was arrested at 6:32 a.m. by police who responded to a report of a vagrant asleep behind a building in Milford, 40 miles northwest of the federal prison in Otisville, N.Y., where he escaped Thursday.


Busic was serving a life term for hijacking a plane in 1976 and murdering a New York City police officer who died while trying to defuse a bomb planted by Busic and others seeking independence for the province of Croatia in Yugoslavia.

Milford police notified U.S. marshals of Busic's arrest. The muscular convict shaved off his beard but identification 'wasn't too difficult' because he has a glass left eye, said Flavio Lorenzoni, chief deputy of the U.S. marshal's office in New York City.

Busic was arraigned Saturday in Scranton and charged with escape. Lorenzoni said Busic would be kept at the Lewisburg federal prison through the weekend, then be returned to New York.

He faces an additional five years in prison for the escape, officials said.


Busic was reported missing Friday from the Otisville Federal Correctional Facility after prison guards found a dummy in inmate's clothing in his bed, prison spokesman Greg Bogdan said.

Busic broke through a plaster-board ceiling in the prison gymnasium Thursday night. He then dug a hole under a fence in the recreation yard and worked his way through security wire and ran into woods next to the prison.

Busic excape was not discovered until Friday because a head count Thursday night turned up nothing unusual.

Bogdan said the dummy apparently had been counted in the inmate's cell. An investigation of the escape, the first ever from the 770-inmate prison, was under way, he said.

Busic was serving a life sentence for a 1976 hijacking by Croatian separatists of a TWA flight en route from LaGuardia Airport to Chicago.

The terrorists demanded that leaflets promoting Croatian independence be distributed. After the demand was met, the five surrendered in Paris. The plane had made stops in Montreal and London but no passengers were injured.

The hijackers also planted a bomb in a locker at Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan. A 26-year-old police officer was killed while trying to defuse the bomb.

Busic was convicted by a state court of kidnapping and murder.


Latest Headlines


Follow Us