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Mark Twain Spradley
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Hero
    (circa 1958- )
    Born in United States
    Resided in a 1975 Chevrolet Caprice Classic in Broward County, Florida
    Reported an escaped convict hitchhiker to authorities after giving him a ride (November 7, 2007)
    Received over $30, 000 in awards for his actions (November 2007)
    He shares his name with the author of the controversial 'Huckleberry Finn' novel.
    He had moved from Las Vegas to Florida six months before the incident hoping to start a car restoration business, but within three months he was homeless.
    He stated that bad luck and poor financial planning caused an apartment eviction and forced him to move into his car.
    He gave a ride to Michael Mazza, an escaped prisoner accused of fatally shooting deputy Paul Rein while en route to court for a robbery trial earlier that day.
    He gave Mazza a ride to two locations, feeling sympathetic for Mazza due to his appearance and believing his story of needing to get away after discovering his girlfriend cheating on him earlier that day.
    During the second location visit to a pawn shop while Mazza sat outside in the car, he was still unaware of the hitchhiker's actual situation until he asked other customers about the frantic conversation regarding an escaped prisoner alert on a store television.
    After Spradley recognized Mazza's photo during the alert and told the shop clerk to call 911, the clerk thought that he was also entitled to reward money.
    It was uncertain if Spradley was eligible for Crime Stoppers' $25, 000 reward for his actions due to Mazza's apprehension because of a 911 call instead of a Crime Stoppers tip line.
    He stated that he was trying to be a Good Samaritan by giving Mazza a ride.
    He stated that Mazza's calm demeanor during their time together made Spradley unsuspicious of him.
    He was not harmed during the incident.
    He credited God for protecting him during the incident and guiding him in the capture of an escaped criminal.
    He received significant recognition and financial rewards for his actions including the Crime Stoppers award, and the pawn shop clerk received $1000.
    The reward money helped to restore his life, and he hopes to resume his plans for a car restoration business.
    Despite the incident's outcome, he stated that he planned to follow his mother's advice to discontinue giving rides to strangers.

Credit: Pr31wnb


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