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CRIME

Italian tourist killed in Rio after GPS misdirection

Drug traffickers shot an Italian tourist in the head and killed him on Thursday, after he and his companion strayed into a slum in Rio de Janeiro, police said.

Italian tourist killed in Rio after GPS misdirection
File photo of a favela in Rio de Janeiro: Eric Feferberg/AFP

Roberto Bardella, 52, and his cousin were traveling on motorcycles through South America and arrived in Brazil after visiting Argentina and Paraguay.

“They were in Rio as tourists, visiting the statue of Christ the Redeemer, and they consulted their GPS to find their way to the beach,” civil police spokesman Fabio Cardoso told reporters.

They took the wrong road and arrived in Morro dos Prazeres (Mountain of Pleasures), a favela in the center of Rio, he said.

“They were accosted by traffickers. The victim was wearing a camera-mounted helmet, which the traffickers thought meant he was a police officer recording the incident, so they shot the victim, who died,” Cardoso said.

The other tourist, whom police did not identify, was held captive by the traffickers for a couple of hours, then released. Police are investigating the case.

Oil-rich Brazil's economy is in its deepest recession for decades, in part due to the steep drop in oil prices. The economic crisis has wreaked havoc in health care and public safety.

Rio, Brazil's second-biggest city, has endured an alarming rise in crime.

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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