Czech fraudster wins new job, steals again and runs

Reuters

PRAGUE (Reuters) - A Czech fraudster on the run from prison got hired as a chief economist at a museum, where he stole some 10 million Czech crowns ($500,000), media reported.

Police came on Thursday to arrest Vladimir Prokop at his office at the National Agriculture Museum, close to the Interior Ministry. He fled through the exhibition halls of the museum, an emergency exit staircase and then hailed a cab, television Nova reported late on Friday.

"He was an ordinary, even compliant man, nobody thought he would turn out to be a world-class trickster," the museum spokesman Lubomir Marsik said.

The money stolen amounts to roughly a third of the annual budget of the museum. Most of it was found in plastic bags at Prokop's flat.

Prokop got the job at the museum under a false identity, presenting himself as a trained economist. Calls to his phone number, still listed on the museum's website on Saturday, went unanswered.

He escaped last June from prison where he was serving time for embezzling 10 million Czech crowns from the Prague branch of the Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren, where he managed its foreign donations, Czech news agency CTK said.

($1 = 20.0369 Czech crowns)

(Reporting by Robert Muller; editing by Andrew Roche)

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