The End Of The Road For 'Bonnie And Clyde'

Handsome, blond and fairy-tale charming, Craig Pritchert, a onetime Arizona baseball star, strolled into a bank in the Colorado Rockies. His girlfriend, Nova Guthrie, a former sorority president and a pre-med student, waited in the car outside. They were making a withdrawal, but not by check. Pritchert wore a mask and carried a gun. It was a bank robbery, one of a series of heists allegedly carried out by this hip, attractive American couple--a modern-day Bonnie and Clyde.

Down the road they fled. He clutched the cash. She drove getaway. They were daring but meticulous. While most robbers are bumblers, cops say this pair worked like pros. "They did their homework," says Scottsdale Police Det. Tom Van Meter. They studied banks to learn when deposits were highest and security was lowest. They wore disguises for every job. They learned to soak the greenbacks in water to avoid tracking.

They spent the same way they stole--lots in a hurry. They drove BMWs, Saabs, Mercedeses. They hung out in ski resorts and spent lavishly. He liked imported drinks and fine threads. He seemed to be gliding through life like the Natural.

Pritchert, 43, now sits in jail in Florence, Ariz., on charges that could bring more than 20 years in the pen. He maintains his innocence. Guthrie, 30, pleaded guilty earlier this month to her part. After cutting a deal to testify against her boyfriend, she faces a maximum of 11 years. Police say the pair robbed banks in Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Oregon, netting perhaps $500,000. Then they disappeared. FBI agent Mike Sanborn believes they hid in Canada, Belize, Jamaica, England and Greece before settling in South Africa.

Police say Pritchert was a grifter from the start. When he met Guthrie in 1997, he was a divorced father of three who'd already served five years for robbing banks. But he told her a tale that he was a hotshot exec. She came from a Christian family so strict that television was not allowed at home. But when she met the dashing Pritchert at a restaurant in Farmington, N.M., she fell hard. The next day they went water-skiing. Police say that at the time he told her he was a bank robber, she was still starry-eyed. It comes as no surprise to Laurie Pulzato, Pritchert's ex-wife and high-school sweetheart. "He had lots of charisma, was good-looking, suave," she says. "You know he was up to no good, but he's fun to be around." She says he was bitter about falling short of the majors. "He just soured," she says. After leaving school, he settled on a sales job, making about $35,000 a year. She says he felt stifled. They split in 1987--just before he started his new career. "He wanted to drive a nice car and live in a nice house," Pulzato says.

In 2001, the runaways tried an easy life in Cape Town. Guthrie, as "Andi Brown," got a job as a waitress and was promoted to manager of the Club Bossa Nova. Pritchert, "Dane," traded stocks from their apartment. Back home they had become outlaw celebrities, profiled on "America's Most Wanted."

In July 2003, a South African visiting the United States phoned the FBI after seeing a wanted poster of a woman who looked like the manager at Bossa Nova. A few weeks later, a South African SWAT team busted them in their apartment. In jail, Pritchert bragged to a reporter that he'd made the bigs, at least for a while. "We had what most people strive for but can't touch," he said. But in the end, it seems, he struck out.