A New Jersey man believed to have died in a boating accident over the summer is alive and well. Well, maybe not well, exactly, as he currently faces a string of serious charges.
Andrew Biddle, 47, was reported missing in July after a boat he and 23-year-old Justin Belz were traveling in struck an off-shore buoy in the waters near Longport, N.J. Biddle, a professional powerboat racer who also owned a local marina business, was declared dead a day later after a search for him was called off.
But soon after, the Egg Harbor Township Police Department concocted a seemingly ridiculous theory: that Biddle had faked his death and was in hiding. The Village Voice explains:
For months, Biddle had been facing fraud and theft charges related to his business. He had been accused of selling boats for clients and never delivering the proceeds. He had developed a reputation as a con artist. Authorities believed the accident in June was a ruse, and Biddle had escaped. A detective in the department told the paper that officials were proceeding with the investigation as we would if he hadn't been reported missing. He was officially listed as a fugitive by early August.
After months on the lam, Biddle found himself inside of a courtroom in Atlantic County last week. His lawyer, Mark Roddy, explained to the Press of Atlantic City that Biddle had called him recently and said he wanted to "step up to the plate and take responsibility [for his actions]."
Biddle, who the Village Voice says is free on $50,000 bond, faces seven charges for his initial crimes. At the moment, it's still unknown if he'll face the music for his attempt to flee.
[via Village Voice and Press of Atlantic City]