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Fake priest blesses police after being collared

Man tried to nab 25,000-euro book haul from Rome college

14 June, 16:53
Fake priest blesses police after being collared (ANSA) - Rome, June 14 - A thief who disguised himself as a priest to rob a Catholic college in Rome became so caught up in his holy pretence that he blessed the police officers who helped foil his bid to steal a batch of antique books.

The fake cleric, a 52-year-old Venezuelan, mingled among students and teachers on Saturday at the city's Venerable English College, a seminary for priests for England and Wales, before heading to its library and nabbing 25,000-euros worth of books. But the college's vice rector became suspicious when the unfamiliar man could not explain what he was doing there.

When questioned furthered he took flight but was stopped before he could make off with his haul of seven tomes.

Officers said that, even when the game was up, the man kept up the part, blessing them by making the sign of the cross before being taken into custody. Police said they were familiar with the man following attempts to steal antique books and works of art elsewhere. Photo: antique books from a Tuscan show.

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