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CRIME

VIDEO: Gang of thieves caught snatching bags at Rome airport

Italian police have arrested five suspects accused of snatching passengers' valuables at Rome's Fiumicino airport.

VIDEO: Gang of thieves caught snatching bags at Rome airport
CCTV footage showed suspects working together to snatch passengers' luggage. Screengrab: Polizia di Stato/Twitter

Another seven people are under investigation in connection with the gang, which also operated in rental car parks and at the main train station Termini, police said.

The suspects are accused of nabbing property worth more than €50,000 in a matter of hours, according to police, who released surveillance camera footage of the gang at work.

READ ALSO: Rome's Fiumicino rated the 'best airport in Europe'

The video shows several men, posing as passengers and carrying suitcases of their own, striking opportunistically at check-in desks or in the car park.

In one incident, a man can be seen opening a car door to snatch valuables from inside the vehicle as two travellers load their cases into the boot. In another, one man distracts a man waiting in line as an accomplice lifts his bag from a luggage trolley.

The gang has been dubbed the “commuter” thieves, because the suspects are residents of France and Spain but travelled back and forth to Rome.

Police said they were skilled at blending in with other travellers and carried changes of clothes with them to be able to swap outfit rapidly.

They face charges of aggravated theft.

Meanwhile police were able to recover some of the stolen property and return it to its rightful owners, they said.

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ROME

Body of missing American tourist found in Rome’s River Tiber

The body of a missing 21-year-old tourist was found in the River Tiber on Thursday morning, according to media reports.

Body of missing American tourist found in Rome's River Tiber

Elijah Oliphant, from Dallas, Texas, was on holiday with his family in Rome when he went missing several days ago.

Oliphant’s parents reported his disappearance after he left his hotel room shortly after midnight on May 24th and did not return.

Hotel security footage showed him leaving the premises wearing a white undershirt and pyjama bottoms, which he was wearing when he was found.

Oliphant’s corpse was reportedly spotted by passersby near the Ponte Sisto bridge in Rome’s Trastevere district around 10am on Thursday morning. His body was positively identified by his parents.

Members of the fire brigade and river police who recovered the body say there were no obvious signs of violence, but an autopsy will be conducted to determine the cause of death. Trastevere police are reportedly investigating the matter.

The Oliphant family had arrived in Rome for a holiday on May 23rd. When Elijah went missing the following day, his parents launched an urgent appeal to help find their son.

His disappearance was featured on the missing persons television show, Chi l’ha visto (‘Who’s seen them?’) on May 25th.

Several foreigners have been found drowned in the Tiber in recent years, though there are no indication that any of the incidents are linked.

In 2016, the body of 19-year-old American student Beau Solomon was recovered from the river.

Rough sleeper Massimo Galioto was charged involuntary manslaughter in the case, but was ultimately acquitted in 2020.

Prosecutors said that Galioto pushed Solomon in the course of a violent argument. Galioto’s defense team acknowledged that the two had argued but said the student had accidentally slipped.

In May 2019, 37-year-old Imen Chatbouri, a former athletics champion from Tunisia, was found dead in the Tiber after a night out. CCTV footage later showed she had been pushed from the Ponte Sisto bridge.

A then-26-year-old man whose advances she had rejected earlier that evening was convicted of her murder in November 2021.

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