Last updated: 03:50 PM ET, Thu August 13 2015

Tourist Attempts to Steal Artifact from Ruins of Ancient Pompeii

Impacting Travel | Donald Wood | August 13, 2015

Tourist Attempts to Steal Artifact from Ruins of Ancient Pompeii

It has become an all-too-common trend of tourists behaving badly at the world’s most historical places, and the problem reared its ugly head once again, this time at the ruins of the ancient city of Pompeii.

In a report from Patrick Browne of The Local, a 16-year-old boy from the Netherlands allegedly took a Roman roof tile and put it in his backpack. An American tourist who saw the boy steal the artifact notified officials who told the police.

As the teenager attempted to leave the area, local authorities stopped the boy and searched the bag, successfully recovering the item. When asked about why he would attempt to steal the artifact, he reportedly told the police that he wanted to sell the item on eBay in order to raise enough money for a new iPhone.

The boy was charged with attempted theft and “handed over to his angry mother, who was unaware that he was up to no good.”

Even if the boy did get away with the artifact from Pompeii, he wouldn’t have sold it for as much as he needed for the new iPhone. Roman artifacts dealer Carole Elena told The Local, “A simple terracotta tile actually has a very low value, we don't even trade them. 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... but obviously items like this are priceless in terms of their historical value.”

Officials at the historical Pompeii were thankful to have the artifact back in their possession, but there was a problem. When asked to inform the staff where the item was stolen from, neither the boy nor the tourist who saw him take the item could remember where it happened.

Park staff said it could be a while before they find its proper place.

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