'Most Wanted Deadbeat Dad' Felled by Cherry Pit Scheme

Joseph Stroup arrested earlier this month in Canada
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 22, 2018 12:10 PM CST
'Most Wanted Deadbeat Dad' Felled by Cherry Pit Scheme
This old photo shows Joseph Stroup.   (Office of Inspector General)

A tiny cherry pit has led to the capture of America's "most wanted deadbeat" dad after nearly 20 years on the lam. Owing what the US government claims is some $560,000 in child support, Joseph Stroup fled arrest in 1998, at some point arriving in Alberta, Canada. Known there as Joop Cousteau, he got to know staff at a now-closed bar called the Bears Den, outside of Calgary, which is where the cherry pit enters the story, reports the CBC. One day in November, Stroup, 64, ordered an odd drink—a Cherry Coke topped with eight maraschino cherries—then complained a cherry pit, which he held in his hand, had caused damage to his teeth, says bar co-owner Scott Winograd. Maraschino cherries, Winograd knew, have their pits removed.

When Stroup later brought in handwritten forms he claimed were from a dental office, Winograd did "maybe an hour's worth of Googling" and arrived at the Justice Department's website, which listed Stroup as America's most wanted deadbeat parent, per the Calgary Herald. The picture was "a spitting image. It was absolutely him," Winograd tells the CBC. He alerted US authorities and "within an hour I had the FBI, US Marshals and the Office of the Inspector General calling," he says. "They really wanted this guy." Arrested by the Canada Border Services Agency on Feb. 1, Stroup was arraigned in federal court in Chicago on Feb. 16, reports MLive. He now faces trial in Michigan over his alleged failure to financially support four children since June 1996. (More Most Wanted stories.)

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