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CRIME

Italian thief dons tuxedo for armed heists

An Italian thief decided to carry out his crime in style by holding up two shops at gunpoint wearing an elegant blue tuxedo, local newspapers reported on Sunday.

Italian thief dons tuxedo for armed heists
The thief was suspiciously wearing a tuxedo during a heatwave in Rome. Photo: Eliot Phillips/Flickr

 The thief, who was around 30 years old according to witnesses, committed the heists in his evening wear on Saturday before making his escape on a scooter with a booty of just under €1,000, the reports said.

Employees at the Eurospin and Lidl shops in the Rome suburb of Torre Spaccata said the thief looked very elegant but the outfit was a poor disguise, especially considering the current heat wave in Rome.

"We were robbed about a month ago as well. The check-out girl knew something was up this time because the man was wearing a tuxedo and a scarf, which is not the sort of thing you wear when it's 40C degrees in the shade," an employee at Lidl told Il Tempo daily.

Police said they were hoping video surveillance tapes would help them catch the thief, who had not bothered to cover his face.

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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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