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March 19, 2011

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Swindler accused of stealing while on dates

A MAN allegedly stole 390,000 yuan (US$59,361) worth of property, including a BMW sedan, from women he met on the Internet, judges said yesterday.

Chen Zhengyao, 27, a local resident, denied he had stolen the car, the most valuable thing among the stolen items, though he admitted other thefts. He told Xuhui District People's Court that he only borrowed the car from the owner and called her later to return it.

According to criminal law, those who steal things valued at more than 100,000 yuan will receive a sentence ranging from 10 years to life imprisonment.

From May 2009 to September 2010, Chen got to know several women on a matchmaking website.

He claimed to be a designer who had graduated from Tongji University.

When he met the women, he tried many ways to steal from the victims, such as offering to carry bags and taking possessions from them, and stealing items when the victims went to the toilet, prosecutors said.

Chen stole 2,100 yuan in cash, a BMW car valued at 358,000 yuan and mobile phones from six victims. As well as those offences, he also stole nine bank cards and drew cash or used them to buy things to an amount -totalling 31,488 yuan, prosecutors charged.

Chen, who has a criminal record for offences such as larceny and fraud, was also charged with credit card fraud because he allegedly swindled a credit card from a woman last May and withdrew 20,598 yuan in cash from the card's account.

The court did not announce a verdict.


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