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SEATTLE (Reuters) - A fugitive bank-robber-turned-actor has been arrested in Washington state after U.S. agents spotted his picture in a newspaper article about a low-budget horror film in which he plays an evil doctor, an official said on Monday.
Officers on a U.S. Marshals Service fugitive task force saw Jason Stange's picture in the Olympian newspaper's feature last week on horror movie "Marla Mae," said Jack Williams, chief deputy for the agency's western district of Washington state.
The officers, who had been tracking his disappearance for several months, identified him by the photo and a unique forearm tattoo, Williams said. Marshals tracked him from a filming location to a store in Olympia, where he was arrested without incident on Friday, he said.
Stange was sentenced to nearly 10 years in prison and five years supervised release in 2006 after pleading guilty to armed bank robbery, Williams said. He was freed on supervised release in 2014, but had been sought since he walked away from a halfway house in Spokane.
Brandon Roberts, the film's producer, said he did not know Stange was a fugitive and that he would not have cast him if he had known about his past.
"This is a small-budget movie," he said. The filming process is "a short blast of work, 12 hours a day, every single day. You get to know people well in a professional sense - what is their work ethic, do they show up on time - but beyond that we didn't know anything about his background."
"He did a good job. He was friendly. Well-liked. We didn't know he was a criminal or anything like that," Roberts added.
Stange plays the role of Dr. Lourdes, an evil physician who targets the protagonist, in the film slated to be released in 2016, Roberts said.
Reporting by Eric M. Johnson in Seattle; Editing by Mohammad Zargham