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CRIME

Thief drugs tourist’s coffee with sedative

A Japanese tourist and his wife were robbed in central Naples after a man offered him a coffee spiked with a sedative, Italian media has reported.

Thief drugs tourist's coffee with sedative
The tourist's coffee had been drugged with benziodiazepines, a class of psychoactive drugs sometimes used as a sedative. Photo: Michelle Tribe

The tourist, 33, and his wife, 35, were reportedly approached by a man outside the train station on piazza Garibaldi, Il Mattino reported.

The man offered them a coffee, which the male tourist graciously accepted, and the three went into a bar.

But unbeknownst to the tourist, their new friend had added a strong sedative to the drink, causing him to fall unconscious.

Pushing the woman to the ground, the thief then grabbed her purse and fled.

The woman was able to raise the alarm by shouting and the police found the suspect hiding behind some cars in a courtyard.

The bag was returned to the woman, who was then taken to the police station where her husband was lying unconscious.

The couple were taken to hospital, where the woman was treated for bruising and the man was found to have been drugged with benziodiazepines, a class of psychoactive drugs sometimes used as a sedative.

The thief was identified as 40-year-old Luigi Esposito from Ponticelli, an eastern suburb of Naples. He was found to be in possession of the drug and was promptly arrested and taken to Poggioreale prison.

Esposito was also arrested in July 2012 for a similar robbery involving sedatives, according to the paper.

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CRIME

New York returns millions worth of stolen art to Italy

Prosecutors in New York on Tuesday returned dozens of antiquities stolen from Italy and valued at around $19 million, some of which were found in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

New York returns millions worth of stolen art to Italy

“These 58 pieces represent thousands of years of rich history, yet traffickers throughout Italy utilized looters to steal these items and to line their own pockets,” said Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, noting that it was the third such repatriation in nine months.

“For far too long, they have sat in museums, homes, and galleries that had no rightful claim to their ownership,” he said at a ceremony attended by Italian diplomats and law enforcement officials.

The stolen items had been sold to Michael Steinhardt, one of the world’s leading collectors of ancient art, the DA’s office said, adding that he had been slapped with a “first-of-its-kind lifetime ban on acquiring antiquities.”

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Among the recovered treasures, which in some cases were sold to “unwitting collectors and museums,” were a marble head of the Greek goddess Athena from 200 B.C.E. and a drinking cup dating back to 470 B.C.E, officials said.

The pieces were stolen at the behest of four men who “all led highly lucrative criminal enterprises – often in competition with one another – where they would use local looters to raid archaeological sites throughout Italy, many of which were insufficiently guarded,” the DA’s office said.

One of them, Pasquale Camera, was “a regional crime boss who organized thefts from museums and churches as early as the 1960s. He then began purchasing stolen artifacts from local looters and sold them to antiquities dealers,” it added.

It said that this year alone, the DA’s office has “returned nearly 300 antiquities valued at over $66 million to 12 countries.”

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