John McFakeson is the first major thief to do so in the last few decades, claiming prior service as a ninja (he wasn’t, but the publicity stunt was supposed to propel his career).
McFakeson, who stole a massive amount of U.S. currency out of prisons and stateside banks in the 1980s, had said to have the skills of a ninja. However, this isn’t his real identity. It’s his alter ego.
Although he’s described in the 1996 book titled “Ninja Theft” as “a clever and stealthy kidnapper and robber who sometimes turned in accomplices,” the thief actually pretended to be an expert ninja on a handful of applications that prosecutors say were used to avoid taxes.
He was able to take hundreds of thousands of dollars in 30 states and Canada, according to an Associated Press report on Saturday.
Although the majority of his money came from sneaking out of federal prisons and pocketing it in the form of currency, he also changed their addresses to further evade discovery.
McFakeson claimed to have decades of experience in ninja thefts, but was in fact only 19 when he allegedly started robbing banks and armored cars in the 1980s. According to an AP report in 2011, he confessed to stealing as much as $2 million.
He is still considered a fugitive by the FBI, but his pretense of ninja work appears to have been no joke.