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CRIME

Italian man catches thief, then gives him a job

The caretaker of a housing complex near Florence in Italy used a knife to scare off a thief trying to steal copper wiring and called in the police to arrest him.

Italian man catches thief, then gives him a job
The theft happened in a housing complex near Florence. Photo: alh1/Flickr

The next day, he offered the same man a job.

"What kind of thief steals using his wife's car for a loot of 60 euros ($78)," said Paolo Pedrotti, 62, the victim-turned-benefactor.

Pedrotti caught Marcello Mucci, 54, on Monday but the next day found out that the hapless thief was unemployed and living on his wife's monthly invalidity pension of 250 euros ($327).

The heart-warming story was widely reported in Italian media as the country endures its worst recession since the Second World War, biting austerity measures and an unemployment rate at record highs.

Pedrotti wrote to the local paper, Il Tirreno, offering Mucci a job mowing the lawn and cleaning inside the apartments, which are on the market but failing to sell, for eight euros an hour.

Mucci said he had immediately accepted the job.

"I was stealing the copper to make it into bowls and chandeliers that I sold door-to-door," said Mucci, a former gardener sacked from his job.

Pedrotti began his letter with "Dear Thief" and ended it saying: "I am waiting for you. In any case, you know the address".

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CRIME

New York returns 214 stolen artworks to Italy in seven months

Authorities in New York announced on Thursday the return to Italy of 14 more antiquities, worth an estimated €2.3 million, as part of an investigation into smuggling of stolen artifacts.

New York returns 214 stolen artworks to Italy in seven months

The Manhattan District Attorney’s office has been conducting an extensive investigation over the past two years into looted antiquities that have ended up in New York museums and galleries — including the prestigious Metropolitan Museum of Art.

During a ceremony on Thursday with the Italian consul general and Italian police representatives, 14 more artifacts – some 2,600 years old – were officially returned to Italy, bringing the total number of repatriated pieces to that country over the past seven months to 214, District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office said.

READ ALSO: Italian ‘art squad’ police recover 800 illegally-excavated archaeological finds

More than 700 pieces worth more than $100 million have been returned in the past year to 17 countries, including Italy as well as Cambodia, India, Pakistan, Egypt, Iraq, and Greece, the statement added.

New York, a hub of stolen antiquities trafficking for decades, set up a task force in 2017 to investigate the illicit trade.

According to the statement by District Attorney Bragg, who took office in January 2022, Thursday’s repatriation included the silver “Sicily Naxos Coin,” minted around 430 BCE and currently valued at half a million dollars.

Other notable items included ancient pottery dating to 510 BCE, and amarble head of Roman Emperor Hadrian, dating to 200 CE.

Among the culprits behind the 14 returned pieces, the statement said, were well-known art traffickers Giacomo Medici and Giovanni Franco Becchina, as well as Robert Hecht, the Paris-based American art dealer who died in 2012.

The traffickers had “relied on gangs of tombaroli (tomb raiders) to loot carefully chosen and insufficiently guarded archaeological sites throughout the Mediterranean,” it added.

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