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The State

February 16, 1988

A Marin County sheriff's detective says it is not inconceivable that Lee Sawaya, 50, bilked as many as 1,000 women out of money as a smooth-talking ladies' man. Sawaya, tripped up by an angry motel clerk charmed out of $3,000, faces three felony counts of grand theft. He previously pleaded innocent. Investigators said that during the last 20 years he was believed to have lifted millions of dollars from his victims--mostly middle-aged women--while he wined and dined them. "It's phenomenal," Detective Bart Stinson told the San Francisco Chronicle. "A thousand women isn't beyond possibility. At any point in time he was probably working on five or six women at once. "He probably got one hit in every five tries." All of his victims agreed on one thing--Sawaya had "sad, brooding eyes--puppy dog eyes." Authorities said Sawaya used the money to satisfy a gambling habit.

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