Tourist steals ancient Italian relic to pay for iPhone

Rome, Aug 11 (IANS) A 16-year-old Dutch tourist was caught trying to steal an artefact from the ancient ruins of the Italian city of Pompeii, aiming to sell it on eBay in order to raise cash for the latest iPhone, the media reported on Tuesday.

The young tourist decided to take a Roman roof tile from the archaeological site, which he hid in his rucksack in a bid to smuggle it out without getting caught, The Local news portal reported citing Italian daily, Il Mattino.

But he was spotted lifting the tile by an American tourist, who informed security staff.

Police stopped him before he could leave the site.

The teenager was charged with attempted theft

But had he known the tile might not have raised enough money for the iPhone – the price of the latest version starts at around 650 euros ($717) – he might have thought twice, sources said.

“A simple terracotta tile actually has a very low value, we don’t even trade them,” Carole Elena, a dealer in Roman artefacts, said.

“Being a tile from Pompeii, its provenance might have given it some extra value, but I’d say it’s worth a maximum of 400 euros ($441) … but obviously items like this are priceless in terms of their historical value.”

The ancient city of Pompeii located in southern Italy’s Campania region, was buried when in 79 A.D. Mount Vesuvius erupted – one of the biggest and disastrous in history – engulfing the whole city in ash and lava flow

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