The man at the top of the wanted list of “deadbeats” has been caught after 20 years of running.
Joseph Stroup, AKA Joop Cousteau was captured in Calgary, Canada, thanks to the suspicions of restaurateur Scott Winograd, owner of the recently closed Bears Den restaurant, an upscale local favorite.
According to the United States government website, “Joseph Stroup had been a fugitive for nearly 20 years. He owes more than $560,000 in child support.”
In a report in the Edmonton Journal, Winograd told the story:
“One day he came in and he called a server over after about 10 minutes and said he bit on a maraschino cherry pit, which is odd because maraschino cherries don’t have pits. He handed this thing that looked like a cherry pit . . . and said he broke some dental work.”
Stroup came back the next day, dental form in hand.
“He had his name on it and his birthday, so I thought, ‘OK, Joop Cousteau, that’s an odd name.’ I thought I should Google him because all my spidey senses were going off…I was thinking this doesn’t seem right.”
Winograd googled him and came across a facebook page that linked his name and his alias. According to the Edmonton Journal, the page had been set up by Stroup’s son.
“The picture, I’m like, ‘oh, my god, that’s him 20 years ago,’” said Winograd. “So I brought up my surveillance photo from the day before and started comparing back and forth, you know, the shape of his nose and exact same moustache, of course. His height was perfect and his age was about right.”
When Stroup returned again to the restaurant, Winograd called the RCMP and the U.S. Inspector General’s office.
Stroup was transported to the United States on Feb. 15, 2018. He is now in U.S. custody and will stand trial for his child support violation.
According to the Office of the Inspector General, “In August 1989, Stroup was ordered to pay child support for his four children in the amount of $100 per month. However, as a result of telling the court he was unemployed and medically disabled, his support was reduced to $14 per month. In 1996, the court learned that Stroup was operating a successful Internet business, which he ultimately sold for more than $2 million. The child support order was subsequently modified to account for the unreported income. From June 1996 to present, Stroup failed to pay any further child support. An arrest warrant was issued in July 1998.”
When speaking to the Edmonton Journal about Stroup’s capture, Winograd said that he’s “glad he’s not around to screw anyone else over.”