Sunken Ship Treasure Hunter Arrested After Being on the Lam

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In 1857, a ship loaded with ore from the California Gold Rush sank during a hurricane off South Carolina. In 1988, a scientist from Ohio discovered the wreck of the SS Central America and recovered 21 tons of gold bars and coins. He sold some—but then became a federal fugitive.

Treasure hunter Tommy Thompson was arrested by federal marshals in West Palm Beach, Florida, but he’ll be extradited to Columbus, Ohio. That’s where investors, insurance companies and crew members are hoping to recover money he promised them from the SS Central America. Among the investors is the company that publishes the Columbus Monthly, where Michelle Sullivan is Assistant Editor.




Warren Olney