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Remorseful thief returns 200 stolen ancient coins to Italian museum

More than 200 ancient coins were returned on Thursday to the Paestum museum in southern Italy by a priest who was told about the theft in confession.

Remorseful thief returns 200 stolen ancient coins to Italian museum
Paestum is one of Italy's lesser-known ancient treasures. Photo: Guillaume Baptiste/AFP

The unknown penitent, presumed to be the thief himself, asked the priest to return the loot to the Paestum archaeological park near Naples.

He insisted the coins had to be given personally to the site's director Gabriel Zuchtriegel, the park said in a statement.

“It's the latest restitution by someone who feels remorseful” for stealing things, the statement added.

READ ALSO: British tourist arrested for stealing Pompeii mosaic tiles

Of the 208 coins returned, seven were fakes but most of the others date from as early as the third century BC, running up to the end of the 4th century AD.

Paestum, originally a Greek colony that was later conquered by the Romans, boasts three of the best preserved Greek temples in the world.

It is not unheard of for people to return artefacts stolen from Italian archaeological sites, sometimes after decades.

The former manager of Pompeii, the ancient Roman city, said that in recent years the site has received around a hundred packages returning stolen relics, which are often accompanied by letters explaining that the items have brought the thieves nothing but bad luck.

“They write that the stolen pieces have brought them nothing but trouble,” former archaeological superintendent Massimo Osanna.Osanna said.
 
“They say they can trace back all their family troubles to their theft at Pompeii.”

Remorseful tourists also sometimes return sand stolen from the pristine, protected beaches of Sardinia.

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CRIME

 Italian police arrest mafia member after three women killed in Rome

Italian police on Saturday arrested a mafia member suspected of killing two alleged Chinese prostitutes and a Colombian sex worker in Rome, local media reported.

 Italian police arrest mafia member after three women killed in Rome

The bodies of the two Chinese women were discovered in a residential building in the upmarket Prati district on Thursday morning, while the body of the South American was found in an apartment in the same neighbourhood an hour later.

All three victims were stabbed, according to Italian media reports.

According to the Corriere della Sera newspaper, footage from surveillance cameras allowed police to identify 51-year-old Giandavide De Pau, who had been prosecuted in the past for drug trafficking and sexual assault.

The suspect is reportedly a member of a mafia clan headed by Michele Senese, who is currently serving a life sentence. De Pau is believed to have been one of Senese’s closest collaborators, acting as his personal driver and handyman.

In 2008 and 2011, the suspect had also spent time in a psychiatric hospital.

It is unknown whether the suspected killer was carrying out a mafia hit or acting alone, possibly under the influence of drugs, which were found at the home of some family members where he is believed to have sought refuge after the police manhunt got underway, Corriere della Sera reported.

Several newspapers had warned of a possible “serial killer” in the Italian capital.

The body of one of the Chinese victims was spotted by a neighbour where it lay, naked on a landing. The woman, believed to be in her 40s, had suffered head and stomach injuries, the newspaper said.

When police entered her apartment, they found the body of the second Chinese woman.

Nobody in the building appeared to have heard the murders take place, according to residents.

“Everybody knew there was a house of ill repute here, I’d see people arriving at 2:00 am, 3:00 am,” a woman who lived in the building told reporters.

The body of the Colombian, who was 65, was found by a friend, Corriere della Sera said.

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