Romans who broke into a designer clothes store at the weekend have joined the ranks of the world's most bungling thieves after being caught pretending to be clothes mannequins.
The three men - aged 55, 70 and 78 - broke into the Rome store on Piazza Fiume through a back window at 4am on Sunday and set about loading designer clothes and bags worth about €100,000 (HK$1 million) into large sacks.
According to press reports, the trio are known by police for scores of shop break-ins stretching back decades. They were equipped with a blow torch, crow bar and skeleton keys.
But their noisy entrance to the store woke a neighbour, who alerted police. When police entered they found the half-filled sacks - but no thieves.
A careful search turned up the two older men - Tommaso Bonardi, 78, and Vittorio Laudani, 70 - standing stock still in a display, trying to pass themselves off as shop dummies. Their trembling gave them away to officers, who promptly arrested them. Their accomplice, Luciano Liquori, 55, was then found hiding elsewhere in the store.
The arrests are the latest hiccup in a rocky career for the three men, who have been nabbed during thefts as far back as the 1980s.
"They have extremely long records, but perhaps that is not too surprising given their age," a police spokeswoman said.