Canadian police have finally found the hideout of the “Bushman of the Shuswap” who repeatedly taunted them through the media as he eluded capture for two years.
Police captured John Bjornstrom in November, but it was not until last week that they were able to locate his hideout in the rugged mountains of south-central British Columbia near Shuswap Lake.
Tips from boaters on the lake helped locate the hideout, which included “an elaborate underground shelter carved into the rock hillside,” the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said in a statement Friday.
Bjornstrom survived by stealing from houses and camps in the area. The Mounties said they recovered a “staggering amount” of stolen property that will take them weeks to sort through to identify who it belongs to.
Bjornstrom, who fled into the wildness in 1999 from a low-security prison near Kamloops, British Columbia, gained national publicity -- and his nickname -- by calling the news media to taunt the investigators trying to find him.
Police eventually used his interest in publicity against him, luring him into a trap by posing as television reporters seeking an interview -- a tactic that was roundly condemned by media organizations.
“The Bushman” told reporters he was eluding police as he attempted to expose a variety of conspiracies, including those surrounding the 1990s collapse of fraudulent Canadian gold-mining firm Bre-X Minerals Ltd.
Bjornstrom is awaiting trial on charges that include escape, assault and burglary. Police said new charges may be added based on the evidence recovered from his hideout.