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Cops: Robbery suspect doesn't last long as identity thief

Freddie Thompson didn't just want to start a new life, he wanted someone else's.

Roughly 58 hours after walking out of a courthouse posing as another man, the 35-year-old Staten Island resident was back in cuffs Friday, police said Saturday.

Few people probably would want to trade places with a defendant going before a judge for allegedly possessing marijuana, but it apparently sounded better to Thompson, who was accused in a string of robberies.

His stolen freedom didn't last long.

On Friday night, the NYPD's warrants squad, acting on information about Thompson's possible whereabouts, waited for the suspect near East 51st Street and Lexington Avenue in Manhattan, sources said. They nabbed him when he showed up about 11 p.m., they said.

The jailbird made his escape on Wednesday: When another defendant's case was called for arraignment at 3:10 p.m. that afternoon in Richmond County Criminal Court in Staten Island, Thompson stepped up and pleaded guilty, officials said. No one was the wiser until after the impersonator had been released for time-served and fled.

"There was a mistake made here, there is no question about it," Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly told reporters on Thursday. Kelly said there would be an investigation and that an officer at the court had been put on modified duty.

Those hours of freedom could prove costly to Thompson: Authorities said Saturday they had added charges of escape, identity theft and criminal impersonation against him.

So while March may have come in like a lion, Thompson won't be seeing it out on the lam.

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