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Quiet Island Has a Mystery on Its Hands

Italy's Capraia, with just 400 residents, has been hit by wave of thefts
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 15, 2021 2:37 PM CST

(Newser) – It's like "having a thief in the family," says the deputy mayor of the tiny Italian island of Capraia. As the Guardian reports, he's referring to dozens of thefts on the island over the winter, a time when only about 400 residents live there. Unfortunately, the small population also applies to the police department, which has a grand total of three officers. The crimes appear to be well planned. In the most recent, the thieves disabled a security camera in a tobacco shop and made off with more than $70,000 from the safe. In another job—perhaps an inside one—they broke into the home of Deputy Mayor Fabio Mazzei and stole his safe, along with hidden jewelry. "They struck on the right day, as they knew I was going to Pisa for a visit," he told a local newspaper. "They knew the house very well."

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The island population typically multiplies during the summer tourist season, but in this case the thieves appear to have flipped the usual playbook by going after locals instead of visitors. One factor: The island's lone bank closed last year, forcing people to keep their money at home. Capraia is one of seven islands that make up the Tuscan Archipelago, notes the New York Times, which last year (in pre-pandemic days) sang the praises of a restored 16th-century fort on the island as a vacation rental. The island is actually closer to the French island of Corsica than the mainland of Italy and is accessible only by boat. Mayor Mardi Bessi says the island's three officers are doing the best they can. "The risk now is that the sense of community we have always had will be damaged," the mayor says. (Read more Italy stories.)

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