Prolific swindler netted by Thessaloniki police

A 44-year-old fugitive believed to have defrauded at least 22 elderly Thessaloniki residents out of more than 67,000 euros has been arrested, police in the northern port said on Wednesday.

According to police, the suspect has 25 convictions against him, carrying a total of 37 years in jail time.

He had been in prison until 2006, when he was granted a five-day furlough and failed to return.

According to investigators, the 44-year-old approached his victims at the entrances to their homes, pretending to be a distant relative and claiming to work for a bank.

After winning their confidence and entering their homes, he would ask to see any cash they had, warning that forged notes were circulating, before fleeing with the money, occasionally using violence to take the cash.