River bomber discovered down under

  When Ken "Taz" Stoner failed to show in court last March, everyone suspected he had skipped town. Stoner was scheduled to be sentenced for his role as the mastermind behind the destruction of Quartzite Falls, a Class VI rapid in Arizona's Salt River Canyon Wilderness (HCN, 10/31/94).

But, as a federal investigation later discovered, the former river guide spent the three months prior to his disappearance amassing $300,000 and depositing it in an Australian bank. He ran up cash advances on his credit cards, took out signature loans, cashed a home equity loan and borrowed illegally against his 401k account. Then he headed for the land down under himself, under an alias.

Following a year-long search, Australian officials nabbed Stoner April 29 in Sydney when he gave his bank the wrong fake identification while trying to withdraw $100,000 of the extorted funds. Now the man who said he set off explosives on five river trips to make Quartzite Rapids safer for river runners faces additional charges of bank fraud and failure to appear in court.

* Kristin Atwell

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