Convicted rapist found in Clearwater using 5-year-old’s identity after 40 years on the run

Pinellas County

CLEARWATER, Fla. (WFLA) – A Connecticut man is behind bars after being on the run from police for over 40 years.

According to the Department of Justice, 76-year-old Douglas Bennett was convicted by a jury in Connecticut of robbery, kidnapping, sexual contact, rape, and deviate sexual intercourse and was sentenced to 9 to 18 years in Connecticut State Prison in 1975. However, Bennett, never turned himself in to begin his sentence.

Records show, in 1977, Bennett assumed the identity of a 5-year-old who had died in 1945 and remained on the run for more than 40 years.

Bennett was arrested in Clearwater on Wednesday after a fingerprint comparison confirmed that he was the same person convicted in Connecticut in 1975. At the time of Bennett’s arrest, he was in possession of a Florida driver license bearing the false identifying information, but containing Bennett’s photograph.

Neighbors like John Ouimette don’t know what to believe after learning the man who lived for years may have had a sinister past.

“It’s incredible, you only hear of this stuff on tv, in a book, or in a movie, these things. It’s really sinister it’s bad it’s as bad as it gets covers all the bases,” Ouimette said.

Bennett is charged with passport fraud and aggravated identity theft. If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of 12 years in federal prison.

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