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Impostor Reportedly Flees As Two Warrants Issued

July 28, 1989

REVERE, Mass. (AP) _ The elusive imposter who posed as an astronaut, military officer and pro baseball player before his arrest on fraud charges and his announced run for mayor has skipped out on warrants in two states, police said.

State police said Wednesday they believe Robert J. Hunt may be in New York City, where he reportedly appeared on a radio talk show last week.

Hunt, 27, apparently fled as arrest warrants were issued in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

Three weeks ago, a man who identified himself as a campaign worker for Hunt called The Associated Press and outlined Hunt’s latest campaign ploy. After having heard that Mayor George Colella had arranged for pizzas to be delivered to some elderly residents, the caller said Hunt planned to deliver pizza to the mayor himself.

″I will be the next mayor of Revere,″ Hunt said last month after announcing he would run. ″I am honest. I think the people are saying that if this guy can do what he did, maybe he can do something for this community.″

″People like me,″ Hunt said. ″I know how to talk to people. I’ll make a great politician.″

Hunt was surprisingly effective in what he called his ″impersonations.″ While posing as an astronaut, Hunt sipped tea with the Lord Mayor of Dublin, signed autographs and lectured at an aviation club called the Experimental Aviation Club.

″He was a very good speaker, he entertained us. He held us spellbound for 2 1/2 hours,″ the Greater Boston chapter president, Lou Pascucci, said after Hunt’s arrest early this year.

The son of a plumber from Everett, Hunt at one point scorched some kitchen tiles and told his wife at the time that they fell off the ill-fated Challenger shuttle. In June, Hunt said he was in the process of divorcing his fourth wife.

″He will show up somewhere else with a scam,″ said State Police Detective Andrew Palombo, who arrested Hunt last January.″He is incapable of doing anything that is not bizarre, and he is not going to get a 9-to-5 job.″

Hunt was convicted in May of fraudulent use of a credit card in renting a private jet airplane and of swindling a Saugus family out of $4,000.

He was ordered to make regular restitution payments to his victims as part of his probation in East Boston and Lynn district courts.

Court officials and Palumbo said payments were not made, and the two courts issued arrest warrants.

He also failed to appear for a July 12 hearing in New Hampshire at which Rockingham County Attorney Brian Graf planned to ask a judge to impose a three-year suspended sentence Hunt got in 1986 for issuing bad checks.

A warrant for his arrest was issued there after he failed to appear.

Palombo went to the elder Hunts’ home in Revere to arrest Hunt July 12 and found that he had left.

Hunt’s father, Leo Hunt, said his son had left his clothes, and he thought he was staying with friends in New York’s Greenwich Village.

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