Hungary's 84-year-old Burglar Strikes Again

BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) - Hungary's notorious octogenarian thief is not ready for retirement.

The 84-year-old woman, known as "Flying Gizi," whose criminal record goes back to the 1950s, is again in custody for suspected theft, police said Tuesday.

Fejer County Police spokeswoman Agnes R. Szabo said the burglar, whose real name is Gizella Bodnar, is suspected of taking some 15,000 forints (euro55, $75) from a home in Bicske, a town in central Hungary.

Bodnar, who has been convicted of over 20 crimes and has spent nearly 18 years in prison, got her nickname because she enjoyed taking domestic commercial flights after successful break-ins.

She eluded capture for years, as police never imagined that the cat burglar would travel so far to commit her crimes.

This time, she only got as far as the Bicske train station before the police found her and the missing cash she took from a wallet on the house's living room table.

Bodnar, who began her criminal activities shortly after World War II, published an autobiography in 2007, claiming that she became a kleptomaniac as the result of a youthful bout with meningitis.

Bodnar also insists she has a special sense about finding hidden jewelry and other valuables quickly in her victims' homes.

Old age has not deterred her. In the past few years she has been fined several times for petty thefts around the country. Based in Budapest, she now favors the railroad, where Hungarian pensioners travel for free, over airlines.

"She's a unique case in Hungarian criminology," Szabo admitted.
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