Lovelorn lady nabs Europe's lonely hearts "swindler"

Tue Jan 11, 2011 12:56pm EST
 
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BERLIN (Reuters Life!) - A German woman helped catch a man suspected of carrying out scams against lovelorn women in Europe after she ended their whirlwind romance by hiding his only pair of shoes and calling the police.

Helena Logrippo met 49-year-old Guido Bannwart on the internet just before New Year's eve and spent four days with him before his requests for money made her suspicious, Frankfurt police spokesman Alexander Kiessling said.

He said the 48-year-old Logrippo first lent Bannwart 700 euros ($906.60) but began her own internet investigation when her lover asked for another 2,000 euros. She found a dozen victims who said they had been cheated out of a total of 500,000 euros by a man Bild newspaper has dubbed "Europe's worst marriage swindler."

"There was an international warrant out for his arrest and she helped us catch him," Kiessling said, adding Bannwart was in custody and awaiting extradition to France where he is wanted.

Kiessling said Logrippo asked her neighbor to take Bannwart's shoes from outside her door and hide them so he could not run away when she called the police after her Internet discoveries dashed her dreamy love affair.

"He was my kind of guy -- tall, strong with a great smile," Logrippo told Bild newspaper.

"It was love at first sight."

(Reporting by Erik Kirschbaum; editing by Paul Casciato)