The Italian Almanac

gentleman thief

A Gentleman Thief

A 'gentleman thief' who presented his victims with red roses was nabbed in Genoa. Police said they had tracked down the man, 48, by following the trail left by his flowers at various shops. Shopkeepers helped police identify him because he always wore the same clothes, police said.

The man, identified by his initials as R.F., was caught as he was about to present two post-office cashiers with roses wrapped in cellophane. He gave a cashier at another Genoa post office a similar souvenir last week. ''It's a way of saying sorry,'' said the man, who used a toy gun to stick up his victims.

R.F. is believed to have robbed a bank inside the northwestern city's Gaslini hospital last year. Police found the bank's safe empty except for a bouquet of flowers.