by Kyle Swenson
After 19 years Leslie “Lucky” Johnson is hanging up the proverbial hat, giving up the so-called game. The longtime fugitive will abandon the on-the-run lifestyle and enter into retirement in federal custody. Admirers across the country are heartbroken to see the curtain close on such an esteemed tenure. Friends say Johnson’s retirement was somewhat unexpected but welcome.
Johnson’s retirement party was held on Wednesday at an Applebee’s in Tarentum, Pennsylvania. In attendance were an unidentified female and some partying-crashing U.S. Marshalls, there to help Lucky mark the end of a great run.
Johnson’s career as a fugitive began one auspicious day in 1991 when he fled Cleveland after being convicted of conspiracy to distribute cocaine. His vocation as an underground artist took him around the country, from Chicago, Florida, Atlanta, Baltimore and Pittsburg; always on the move, Johnson was never in one place long enough for his quality subterfuge to attract the notice it really deserved.
However, his career was not without distinction: in 2005 he beat out stiff competition and was named WKYC’s Fugitive of the Week. A cash prize was attached to the award, but no one collected at the time. Johnson will receive a commemorative plague; U.S. Marshall’s have inscribed it with his favorite numbers and say they'll photographer Johnson with it soon.
Although only days into his new life, Johnson already has firm plans for the future: he says he’ll pass the next five-years in much-needed quiet at a federal institution.
Well, hats off to you, Lucky, may the world be lucky enough to see someone come along to fill your shoes! Cheers!