A treasure hunter who has been a fugitive on the run for the past two years was finally arrested in Florida. Tommy Thompson was finally tracked down by the United States Marshals Service in a Palm Beach County hotel. Brian Babtist, senior inspector with the Columbus agency said a federal civil arrest was made following a 2012 warrant being issued for Thompson after he failed to appear in an important court hearing.
In addition to Thompson, his long-time companion, Alison Anteiker was also taken into custody. After a Florida hearing, the couple will be extradited back to Ohio where they will go before a judge pertaining to the outstanding warrants.
The story began over a legal battle in what many have termed the “greatest lost treasure in American history”. The S.S. Central America was a ship that in 1857, sunk roughly 200 miles off the coast of South Carolina. Unfortunately, 425 people lost their lives in the disaster and literally thousands of pounds of gold mined from California was thought to be forever lost. With this, an economic panic ensued.
However, in 1988 Thompson made history when he discovered the S.S. Central America, often referred to as a “ship of gold”. At that time, finding the sunken treasure was a technological challenge but as a result, thousands of gold coins and bars were brought to the surface.
A large portion of the recovered gold was sold to a marketing group for an estimated $50 million. However, insurance companies and investors started a legal battle over the gold that would last years. People close to Thompson said his situation was his own doing.
In 2006, Thompson went into seclusion after purchasing a Vero Beach Florida mansion called Gracewood. After the 2014 warrant was issued, he disappeared. Caretakers of the mansion conducted a thorough search of the property, finding bank wraps for $10,000 scattered about and a stash of prepaid disposable cell phones.
In addition, a bank statement under the name Harvey Thompson, a name he used while attending college, was discovered showing there was still $1 million available in the account. One of the more interesting findings in the mansion was a book titled “How to Live your Life Invisible”. One page in particular had been marked, presumably by Thompson”, called “Live your life on a cash-only basis”.
What got Thompson in so much hot water was that people in central Ohio believed that Thompson could in fact find and recover the lost gold and as such, invested millions of dollars to help with the process. As promised, three tons of gold, silver, and various shipwreck artifacts were salvaged. However, the investors and insurance companies that provided financial backing never reaped any benefits.
When Thompson failed to show up in court regarding a lawsuit filed over the treasure, the trouble started. As to Thompson’s fate and whether investors will get paid any money remains to be seen.