An Italian thief thanked police officers for arresting him and putting an end to a beating from Korean tourists whom he had robbed in Rome, police said.
“I must thank you, they were massacring me,” the 48-year-old criminal told police after he was arrested near the Theatre of Marcellus, one of the monuments in Rome’s historic center.
The thief, from the northern region of Liguria, stole a handbag from a Korean family when they were not paying attention. He threatened the family with a knife when he was spotted and then tried to flee.
Two men from the family, in their twenties, decided to take the law into their own hands. They chased him for several hundred meters before they got him down with taekwondo moves. They then disarmed the thief and continued to beat him.
A patrolling police officer intervened, separated the three and arrested the thief immediately.
“Normally tourists will just call us and report the incidents,” the officer said. “In this case, the two got really excited and could have seriously injured the thief.”
The young Koreans left after they got the handbag back. The thief was transferred to a prison in Rome and will face robbery charges.
Armed robbery in Rome experienced a sharp decline last year with 4,246 cases reported in 2008 compared with 5,133 in 2007.