PLAINFIELD TWP., Pa. - He was the one who got away.
A home invasion suspect high-tailed it out of town after jumping bail in Northampton County nearly 24 years ago. But police persistence has paid off, and the man is once again behind bars.
Matthew Hebert was just 19 years old back in March of 1990 when police say he and two other crooks showed up at a house in Plainfield Township with a cooked up scam. Allie Van Doren, 63, and his wife were inside.
"He detained Mr. Van Doren to the rear of the yard and tried to sell him, telling him he was going to do electrical work on the house," explained Plainfield Township Police Officer Joe Straka.
Mrs. Van Doren was tied up with duct tape and Mr. Van Doren viciously beaten. The trio was arrested and they pleaded guilty.
"They were released on pre-trials pending sentencing," added Straka. "They did take off."
That crime happened nearly 24 years ago. And Hebert and the other slipped through officers' fingers.
The Van Doren's have since passed away, but Officer Straka never forgot what happened. Over the summer he turned to the FBI for help.
"He was asking me for assistance in locating the fugitive," shared Special Agent Alan Jones.
In a matter of weeks, Jones says he was able make huge steps in the investigation. He had an idea Hebert was in Florida.
"I was able to track down the fact that Matthew Hebert, the defendant that we were looking for, was actually still living in Florida," Jones said.
After an anonymous tip, Hebert was finally taken into custody at a Florida hotel Thursday. Jones says a paperwork error helped the 42-year-old elude the law for so long.
"He'll be extradited sometime within the next two weeks most likely," he added.
Allentown, PA 18102