19-year-old arrested for impersonating priest to visit Milan Duomo for free

Milan police have arrested a 19-year-old man who impersonated a priest in order to gain entry to an area of Milan's cathedral reserved for clergy.

19-year-old arrested for impersonating priest to visit Milan Duomo for free
A photo shared by Italian police.

Dressed in a priest's clerical clothing, the man accessed staff-only areas of the famous Duomo, separate from the areas open to tourists or the congregation.

He was even pictured speaking to nuns in the cathedral during his visit.

When he was spotted by police officers, they asked him to show his ID, at which point the fake priest at first tried to run away.

Then he offered a cover story, allegedly claiming to be an Orthodox priest – but police quickly saw through this, partly due to the fact he was wearing the wrong kind of garments.

According to Milan-based Il Giorno, the man was from Monza and explained that he thought up the plan in order to avoid paying for the €3 entry ticket.

However, he said he had bought the priest's clothes shortly beforehand for €70 – clothes which were then confiscated by police.

Photo: Miguel Medina/AFP

Police officers escorted him out of the cathedral, accompanied by soldiers who are on duty at the site as part of Italy's anti-terror measures which have seen security ramped up at high-profile monuments.

The man has also been charged with fraud, impersonating a priest, and wasting police time, though he was not arrested.


‘Bank robber’ rescued in Rome after tunnel collapses

Four people were arrested in Rome after a suspected would-be bank robber was rescued from a tunnel under a road, police said on Friday.

'Bank robber' rescued in Rome after tunnel collapses

An Italian man had to be rescued after becoming trapped in a collapsed tunnel near the Vatican, suspected of being part of a gang burrowing its way to a nearby bank.

Firefighters spent eight hours digging him out from under a road in the west of Rome, before he was finally freed on Thursday evening and taken to hospital.

“Two people from Naples were arrested for resisting a public official and two, from Rome, for damage” to public property, a police spokesman told AFP.

The rescued man, one of the two Romans, remains in hospital, he said without giving an update on his condition.

“We are still investigating, we do not exclude that they are thieves, it is one of the theories,” he said.

For Italian newspapers, however, the motive was clear, with reports noting the tunnel was found near a bank ahead of the August 15th long weekend, when residents traditionally head out of town and much of Rome is left empty.

“The hole gang,” headlined newspapers Repubblica and Corriere della Sera, while La Stampa said: “They dig a tunnel to rob a bank, and one of them is buried underground.”

Other reports referred to the suspected burglar as l’uomo-talpa, or ‘mole man’.

An AFP reporter at the scene on Thursday saw the man brought out alive on a stretcher, after a day-long operation involving dozens of emergency service workers using mechanical diggers.

The tunnel began underneath an empty shop that had recently been rented.

“We all thought that the people there were renovating the place. So we had no suspicions and we did not hear noises either,” a resident, Michele, who lives in the same building told AFP.