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U.S. fugitive couple caught in South Africa

CAPE TOWN, South Africa — An American couple dubbed the modern-day Bonnie and Clyde for a spate of bank robberies across the U.S. West were arrested in South Africa after eight years on the run, authorities said Wednesday.

South African police and the FBI arrested Craig Michael Pritchert, 41, and Nova Ester Guthrie, 28, in Cape Town on Tuesday night, South African police spokeswoman Mary Martins Engelbrecht said. The couple, who were on the FBI's most-wanted list, had been living in South Africa since 2000 under the aliases Andy and Dane Brown.

The Colorado-born Guthrie worked as a manager at a trendy Cape Town nightclub, the Bossa Nova Lounge and Club. Pritchert, born in Illinois, often visited her and was a regular at a local gym, authorities said. Engelbrecht said the two were expected to appear in court today for extradition proceedings.

Pritchert and Guthrie are suspected of armed robberies in Arizona, Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, Texas and Oregon between 1993 and 1996. They had lived near Durango in southern Colorado.

The doors of the Bossa Nova Lounge and Club were closed Wednesday. Management of the popular Latin dance club refused to comment on the woman they knew as Andy, who worked as a day manager.

According to friends of the owners who spoke on condition of anonymity, the couple claimed to be Canadian. The owners, they said, didn't want to speak to the media because Guthrie did not have a work permit.

U.S. Embassy spokeswoman Judy Moon said the FBI got information last month that the two were in Cape Town. They were arrested in their apartment in the Green Point area Tuesday night.

During their crime spree, the couple were known for robbing banks either early in the morning or at closing time, Moon said.

"Pritchert was always armed with a semiautomatic handgun and used duct tape, cheap handcuffs or plastic ties to bind bank employees," she said.

The FBI has said the couple used proceeds from their crimes for snowboarding, stock investments and travel, including to resort areas in Colorado, Canada and Belize.

Pritchert was a former Arizona State University baseball star who had three children from a previous marriage. The two had also been wanted by Interpol since 2001, Engelbrecht said.

Several other international fugitives have fled to Cape Town in the past, among them convicted German fraudster Jurgen Harksen; Khalfan Khamis Mohamed, a suspect in the 1998 bombing of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, and James Kilgore, the last member of the Symbionese Liberation charged with murder in a 1975 bank robbery.