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CRIME

Indian and Pakistani admit pizza shop slaying

An Indian and a Pakistani have confessed to killing the elderly owners of a Brescia pizzeria in a mafia-style slaying that shocked Italy and threatens to inflame racial tensions in the northern city.

Indian and Pakistani admit pizza shop slaying
The two men confessed to killing the elderly owners of a Brescia pizzeria. Photo: Shutterstock

Prosecutors said Pakistani national Mohamed Adnan and Indian Sarbjit Singh had admitted to carrying out the August 11th attack in which Francesco Seramondi, 65 and his wife Giovanna Ferrari, 63, were shot repeatedly with sawn-off shotguns inside their takeaway.

The execution and the killers' getaway on a moped was captured on CCTV and police said Singh's fingerprints had been found at the scene.

Adnan is the owner of a failed similar pizza and snacks outlet he bought from Seramondi. Hours after the attack the 32-year-old appeared on television complaining that the neighbourhood had become “disgusting” and that the police had been sleeping.

According to prosecutors, Adnan has claimed he organized the murder with the help of his friend Singh, 33, in frustration and anger over being unable to compete with the slain couple's popular business.

But investigators are sceptical about whether the case is actually that straightforward in a city known for the involvement of organised crime in extortion rackets and the drugs trade.

“Now the difficult phase of the investigation begins, in which we will try to establish if the suspects simply adopted the methods of organised crime of if there is more to it,” Brescia prosecutor Pierluigi Maria Dell'Osso told a press conference.

The case threatens to affect already-delicate community relations in Brescia, where immigrants from South Asia and North Africa account for more than a sixth of the population, high by Italian standards.

An angry mob gathered to greet Adnan and Singh on their arrival at the city's police headquarters for questioning and the case was seized upon by Matteo Salvini, the populist leader of the anti-immigration Northern League who has emerged as the most prominent figure on the right of Italian politics.

“If it is true (that they carried out the murders) these two bastards should be locked up for life, preferably in their own countries,” Salvini said on Monday.

The son of the slain couple, Marco Seramondi, appealed for calm, writing on his Facebook page: “We want justice to be done, not a vendetta.”

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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