If you are a fugitive, you need to know how to run from the law and not get caught. You need the perfect plan to evade arrest and conviction.
It is not easy to stay on the run. You have to be dedicated, and ready to give up your family, friends, and every tie of your previous life. Assuming a new identity is always necessary but not foolproof to permanently run from the law without getting caught.
You need to be really good and consistent at being on the run to avoid ending up like Benjamin Quinn who was arrested in Bethlehem, Connecticut, after 10 years on the run.
How to run from the law and not get caught
This publication is not designed to encourage running from the law but reveals what fugitives do to never get hooked.
Partially cut off your family
It is a hard thing to do but your family is the law’s first target in search of you. Do not run to hide with a relative, your girlfriend’s apartment, or your best friend’s home. The law enforcement will visit them for ideas to track your current location.
Stay out of the cities
Cities are not the place you want to be to outrun the law. Investigators will leverage video cameras found anywhere to locate you. Some of these cameras use facial recognition technology, so you could be revealing your hideouts to the law.
Toll roads and bridges also use tag readers, video cameras, and other advanced technology that can track you. If you must use tolled roads when fleeing, you want to block the cameras from capturing your license plate.
Transact with cash only
You cannot hide from law enforcement with your bank statement, or even PayPal, Venmo, Apple Pay, or credit card bill. Any payment method outside the traditional cash payment can give you away.
Suppose you want to buy/rent a house or open a bank account. You will need an ID. Providing that ID will somehow expose your location at some point.
You will need to develop forgery skills to avoid providing your real ID. For example, when renting an apartment, you can fake your pay stub to outsmart the landlord. Even a bank statement can be forged when necessary.
And if you have to prove your birth for some reason, online tools make it even easier to make yourself a falsified birth certificate. If you are worried you would need, let’s say, your bank statement for proof of something, you may need to fake it.
The idea is that whatsoever you do must be paid in cash. And if you have to accept payment online, then faking your ID is the way to eliminate your footprint.
Get rid of your digital footprints
You have to ditch your phone and computer if you really want to run from the law. Your other gadgets and even your smart TV, Wi-Fi refrigerator, and Nest Thermostat can betray your location to the police.
Any smart device in your new home (even as little as the door-lock app and bulb) can turn you in by creating cyber footprints of you. Investigators can use the data to predict your movements.
Your digital gadgets collect information about you. When you go off-grid, it leaves a digital footprint that brings law enforcement to your hideout. Third-party marketing companies can also pick up device ID, track your activities and even share the data with government agencies despite promising to anonymize your data.
If getting rid of technology is not an option, you can take precautions to minimize your footprint. You need a VPN (Virtual Private Network) when surfing the web, and also never forget to cover the webcam on your computer. Going incognito while browsing will prevent the browser from storing browsing cookies or caches. However, these are not fool-proof techniques but only reduce your digital footprint.
Ditch social media
Running from the law enforcement demands no using social media, at least never sign up with your real ID. No more pictures of you, and you have to permanently suspend or delete your existing accounts.
The people you get in touch with can become sloppy when they get too comfortable. You do not want to post photos of the few friends you make from your hideout. You do not also want to feature in their social media photos because one photo can cause your downfall. Pictures you take may use EXIF (Exchangeable Image File Format) data, which contains picture date, time, and your GPS location information.
Avoid public transportation
Unless you can leave your residence long before the crime is discovered, public transportation can get you caught. Train stations, airports, and bus terminals will have an e-mailed or faxed copy of your picture. Remember that there are video cameras everywhere.
Traveling in your vehicle or using the vehicle of someone associated with you also makes it easier to identify and track you.
Do not also rent or buy a car because you need a driver’s license which will be logged into the DMV computer in your name.
You give law enforcement officers the opportunity to see you every time you need a place to stay, food to eat, or a bathroom. People generally love to talk and will turn you in, especially if there is a reward for your arrest.
It is a bad idea to keep in touch with anyone from your past just to check in to tell them what happened. You do not really need your relatives but if you must mandatorily keep in touch with one, make sure you can trust them. The law officers will keep coming after you like you are hiding from a debt collector.
Disable any form of GPS on you
Your cell phone GPS can give your location to the officers tracking your location. Even when your cell phone is turned off, it can still be activated and tracked. Burner phones are not also perfect foolproof you can rely on to be anonymous.
The GPS on your motor vehicle can also reveal your location. If you have a vintage vehicle with no digital connectivity, then it is okay to escape in it. A modern vehicle makes it harder to hide your location, and if the vehicle has a lien on it, the chances are that the lender had a tracker installed.
Assume a new identity
You could find your way to the hills of West Virginia, stay off the grid and make a new identity for yourself. You would have to fake and forge a lot about you to survive being welcomed as an entirely new person wherever you choose to reside.
Do not take a loan in your real name. Law enforcement agents can perform a soft hit or credit inquiry to determine your recent location and valid/current contact information.
Get a low-profile job
The money will run out eventually, so you must plan to make more or sustain what you already have. If you are forced to get a job, most employers require some form of ID, including a Social Security number if you reside in the US.
This means you have to assume a new identity, starting by faking your IDs. Companies do not want anything to do with you if have no sort of resume. But you can begin with lots of volunteering such as search and rescue (firefighter, etc.) or charities to boost your experience.
Take local jobs and never go for high-profile jobs. Jobs like sales and trucking can fetch you the money for sustenance.
If you become too shady trying to stay off the spotlight, the people around you will start getting suspicious, so have some sort of presence with your fake ID.
Get a lawyer to negotiate
Perhaps, a good lawyer can negotiate for you to turn yourself in. Plea bargain negotiations can get the prosecutor to lower or remove charges to reduce possible sentencing. When your criminal defense lawyer negotiates well enough, it is possible to get lesser sentencing from the judge.