The Italian Almanac

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The Crying Robber

A man who turned to robbery when he fell behind with alimony payments broke down in tears when a sympathetic post-office cashier told him a life of crime wasn't for him.

Antonio M,. a forest ranger, couldn't make ends meet and decided to steal the money he needed for his son and estranged wife. Armed only with a screwdriver and without trying to disguise his identity he went into the first post office he saw and reportedly told the cashier to hand over the contents of her till, but ''in a less than convincing voice''.

The woman looked at him and said ''Come on, don't do it. You'd better give me that''. At that point he broke down in tears and started telling her about his financial problems. The woman's co-worker meanwhile called the police who found the man ''still crying his eyes out and being consoled by the cashier while the people in the queue were nodding in sympathy''.

The police were forced to arrest the man but a judge took pity on him and changed the charge from attempted robbery to using threats. A justice of the peace gave the man a ''symbolic'' 32-euro ($50) fine.