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A night on the town for an unnamed deputy U.S. Marshal resulted in the miraculous arrest of a fugitive who happened to be dining in the same restaurant.
The deputy, who would only speak to KCTV anonymously, said he did a double take when he walked into Fogo de Chao on the Country Club Plaza with his family and friends and saw a face he recognized from a wanted poster he'd been staring at for a month.
It was the face of Virgil Tillman, a wanted fugitive in Kansas and Oklahoma. The long list of allegations against him includes drug activity, theft and several gun violations.
The marshal told his companions, "I have to go to work for a little bit."
"I think he was initially surprised and excited," explained the deputy's supervisor, Craig Beam. "But obviously [the deputy] reacted calmly enough to put the situation into his favor."
Beam, speaking on behalf of the deputy to provide on-the-record commentary without jeopardizing his identity, said Tillman was a dangerous man who had eluded law enforcement for nearly a year.
"Anybody that's carrying a firearm around illegally, involved in criminal activity, we consider him dangerous," Beam said. "Since this was in a busy, busy area such as a public restaurant, the deputy acted perfectly. He waited until the chance to get him away from members of the public as much as possible."
The deputy quietly excused himself, confirmed Tillman's identity by showing a picture to the valet, and called Kansas City Police.
Two officers arrived to assist. They waited by the door until Tillman got up to leave. Beam said the fugitive tried to hold the door closed when he realized police were waiting for him, but that his arrest went quickly and quietly.
Tillman went to jail, then the deputy quietly informed the manager before he returned to his supper. No one outside his table seemed to notice what had just transpired.
"It's very rare," Beam explained. "Especially something you don't want to happen when you have your family with you."
Fogo de Chao sent out a media statement, commending the deputy for his actions. A spokesperson for the company wrote:
"Congratulations to the deputy, U.S. Marshal's office and Kansas City Police Department for their quick thinking and action. We appreciate their heroic efforts.
"We are also very happy that afterwards the deputy was able to return to his table and enjoy dinner with his guests."
Highwoods, the company that owns the plaza, sent out a similar statement:
"We are pleased to know the fugitive was taken into custody. Along with the rest of our city, we applaud the quick thinking of all those involved who made the arrest happen."
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