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CRIME

VIDEO: ‘Thieves use forks to fleece ATMs’

Five people have been arrested for using fork-like devices to steal money from cash machines in northern and central Italy in 35 separate incidents of alleged "reversal cash trapping".

VIDEO: 'Thieves use forks to fleece ATMs'
Screengrab: TM News

Four men and one woman have been arrested for allegedly stealing cash from ATM machines in the Italian regions of Liguria, Marche, Tuscany and Veneto using a claw-like contraption similar to a fork.

Unlike the more "traditional" cash trapping method, which involves using a claw-like device to steal money from ATMs before the selected amount of money is released, this latest form of theft, known as “reversal cash trapping”, allows thieves to steal up to ten times more cash straight from the source.

According to La Stampa newspaper, thieves would insert a fork-like device into the opening of the cash machine which would trap more than the amount selected by the customer. 

The alleged thieves then used their own cards instead of relying on those of customers to stimulate the flow of cash, selecting just a minimal amount, allowing them to make off with as much as €2,000 at a time.

With the help of CCTV, police have now arrested four men and one women in Ventimiglia, Genoa, Bologna and Florence in connection with the incident. Another woman is also being investigated who – along with her child – allegedly acted as a lookout while the thefts were taking place.

The investigation was sparked after an incident in the town of Bogliasco in Genoa.

In CCTV footage published by TM News (below) a man is seen to apparently employing the technique.

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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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