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American drives wrong way up Italian motorway in high-speed police chase

The 34-year-old man drove at high speed against the traffic on the A1 motorway near Florence in an attempt to evade police, who reportedly rammed the car and shot the tyres.

American drives wrong way up Italian motorway in high-speed police chase
Armed Italian Carabinieri police officers at a road checkpoint. File photo: AFP
The high-speed chase began after the driver was stopped by traffic police on the A1, the motorway between Rome and Florence, at noon on Tuesday.
 
He attempted to evade police by reversing, driving the wrong way down the motorway and breaking through a toll booth before being brought to a halt by police, local media reports.
 
Police set up a road block at Calenzaro, north of Florence, where they rammed the suspect's vehicle with a patrol car to bring it to a halt. Armed Carabinieri officers then fired several shots at the car’s tyres.
 
No one was injured in the incident.
 
Police then discovered an axe, knife, scythe and camping gear in the suspect’s car.
 
The man, who reportedly lives in Vicenza and has American citizenship, was arrested and faces several charges including the unjustified possession of dangerous items.

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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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