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Two U.S. fugitives captured in South Africa

The FBI had sought Craig Pritchert in connection with a series of bank robberies.
The FBI had sought Craig Pritchert in connection with a series of bank robberies.

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JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (CNN) -- Two Americans wanted by the FBI in connection with a series of bank robberies have been arrested in South Africa, police said Wednesday.

Craig Pritchert, 40, and Nova Guthrie, 30, were taken into custody Tuesday night in Cape Town, police spokeswoman Mary Martins-Engelbrecht said.

The FBI's field offices in Phoenix, Arizona, and Denver, Colorado, had listed the two as most wanted.

The FBI issued an international arrest warrant for the two in July 2001 and had informed South African authorities that they may have been hiding in the country, Martins-Engelbrecht said.

Police tracked down Pritchert and Guthrie and kept them under observation before Tuesday's arrests, Martins-Engelbrecht said.

They will appear Thursday in a South African court, where prosecutors will make the case for extraditing the fugitives to the United States.

An FBI official said Pritchert will go to Phoenix and Guthrie to Denver once the South African court clears their extradition.

Nova Guthrie was also arrested.
Nova Guthrie was also arrested.

The FBI said Pritchert and Guthrie are wanted in connection with bank robberies dating back to 1997 in the Pacific Northwest, Texas, Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado. Press accounts have compared the two's holdup style to Depression-era bank robbers Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow.

"In advance of a robbery, Pritchert and Guthrie are believed to spend considerable time in the area in order to study and surveil the targeted bank," FBI notices advised. "Each robbery is an armed takeover of the bank and often occurs around the time the bank opens or closes.

"Pritchert and Guthrie, sometimes accompanied by another male, generally are able to access money from the bank's vault and often tie up their victims prior to leaving the bank. They wear disguises during a robbery and maintain radio contact with their co-conspirator(s) on the outside via two-way radios. They usually abandon their getaway vehicle not far from the bank."

The FBI cites eight aliases used by Pritchert and three for Guthrie. It lists Pritchert's occupation as an Internet day trader and Guthrie as a waitress.

CNN Producer Xoli Moloi contributed to this report.


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