Back in 1985, 24-year-old James Dixon got out of prison in Michigan after doing time for armed robbery. But he skipped out on parole and has been on the run ever since.

Now, almost 30 years later, at age 53, he was finally busted . . . by making one of the most ELEMENTARY mistakes you could make.

The sheriff's department in Hernando County, Florida got an anonymous tip that James might be living in Spring Hill, Florida. And that he was using his brother Gary's identity.

And when the cops pulled him over yesterday, he identified himself as Gary Dixon. But while he was talking to them, another cop walked up behind and said, "Hey James!"

And James turned to look. Then he dropped his head . . . because he realized he'd just given himself away.

He was arrested and will be extradited back to Michigan.

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