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Rome Museum Receives Apology From US Tourist

She confessed to swiping ancient Roman marble 3 years ago
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 25, 2020 1:46 PM CST

(Newser) – A Canadian woman who returned artifacts swiped from Pompeii after experiencing terrible luck may have started a trend. The National Roman Museum says it recently received a chunk of ancient marble in a package sent from Atlanta, Georgia, along with a note in which a woman apologized for being an "American a--hole," the Guardian reports. "To Sam, love Jess, Rome 2017," had been written on the marble with a black marker." "I feel terrible for not only stealing this item from its rightful place, but placing writing on it," said Jess, explaining that she had been unable to scrub the writing off. "It was a big mistake on my part and only now, as an adult, do I realize just how thoughtless and despicable it was."

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Stephane Verger, the museum's director, said the letter "made an impact" on him "because she is young, she knows she had made a mistake." "Who knows, maybe she also had news of the lady of Pompeii," Verger said, per Il Messaggero. "The year 2020, decimated by the COVID pandemic, has made people reflect, as well as moved the conscience. The fact is that three years after the theft, she returned it—it’s a very important symbolic gesture." He said the marble arrived very carefully packed to prevent it from damage. It's not clear exactly where the tourist took it from, but it's possible the marble formerly resided in the Roman Forum. (Read more Italy stories.)

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