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Rebecca Rubin: American Girl and Eco-Terrorist

Newly marketed Jewish doll has same name as fugitive on FBI wanted posters.

ByABC News
June 1, 2009, 4:34 PM

June 2, 2009— -- Rebecca Rubin -- an alleged domestic terrorist on the lam since 2006 -- appears to have devoted her life's work to bringing down the capitalist system.

But Rebecca Rubin is also an 18-inch doll, the newest in the American Girl collection, which brings in a whopping $463 million each year for the toy giant Mattel -- 7 percent of their total sales, according to company financial reports.

Rubin, 36 years old, is also known as "Little Missy." She is listed as "armed and dangerous" by the FBI for her alleged involvement in groups that led two of the biggest eco-crimes in U.S. history -- the 1998 bombing of a Vail, Colo., ski resort and a 2001 explosion at an Oregon power plant.

What's in a name? A lot, apparently.

Just this week, as American Girl launched the sale of the historically-themed doll, Rebecca Rubin, those searching for online purchases will likely find an FBI wanted poster.

"It's a strange coincidence," said Beth Anne Steele, spokesman for the Portland field office of the FBI.

The only thing wanted more than Rubin, the fugitive, is Rubin, the 9-year-old Russian-Jewish immigrant girl who arrived in the New York City of 1914. The doll comes with unique accessories, furniture bedecked with challah (bread) and candles for the Sabbath, and even a thematic books series.

Rubin, the alleged outlaw, had a different batch of relatives called "The Family" who law enforcement officials claim met in so-called "book clubs" to organize arson attacks against threats to the environment.

The FBI lists her profession as "activist and wildlife care," and she has been indicted on arson charges connected to the Earth Liberation Front and the Animal Liberation Front.

Now, the FBI is hoping that publicity surrounding the launch in stores last week of the new American Girl line will help them nab the other Rubin, who they believe has fled to Canada.

"Nobody was killed, but there was certainly the potential for harm for the firefighters and others," said Steele. "It's certainly in the public good to track her down. Any national publicity could help."

The connection between the doll and the fugitive was revealed on blogs last week when Heeb magazine noted the name coincidence.

American Girl had no idea there was an eco-terrorist by the same name and that there was "no connection" to its doll, according to spokesman Julie Parks.

The company had applied to register the doll's name with the U.S. Trademark Office in 2004, several years before the FBI obtained an arrest warrant for the other Rubin.

"We are confident people will see this as nothing more than a coincidence," Parks "We chose Rebecca Rubin for this particular character for a myriad of solid, informed reasons and we proudly stand by them."

The persona of Rebecca Rubin, who lives in a fictional row house in New York's Lower East Side, was chosen by American Girl because its a name that was "popular and common" during the turn of the 20th century and "easy to pronounce."

The other Rubin is associated with Operation Backfire, the FBI's code name for a series of 20 federal arson crimes committed by the groups -- based largely in the Pacific Northwest -- between 1996 and 2001.

Some of the targets besides government facilities included energy plants, car dealerships, lumber mills, genetic research facilities and wild horse corrals.