American tourist who stole an artifact from the Rome Museum in 2017 and donated it to her friend returns it
A tourist who had stolen an ancient relic from a Roman museum three years ago sent it back to Italy, along with a letter apologizing “for being such an American.”
The National Roman Museum management was surprised to recently receive a bulky package postmarked from Atlanta, Georgia.
It contained a fragment of ancient marble with the inscription: ‘To Sam, love Jess, Rome 2017.’
The package also included a letter from a young woman named Jess, who sought forgiveness for taking something that was not “ rightfully mine, ” the Guardian.
The National Roman Museum in Rome recently received a package containing an old piece of marble scribbled with the text, ‘To Sam, Love Jess, Rome 2017.’ The package included a letter from an American tourist apologizing for stealing the artifact
Museum officials are unsure where the artifact was obtained, although it is thought to have been wiped out at the Roman Forum (above), the site of important political and religious activities in ancient Rome dating back to 500 BC.
‘I feel terrible because I not only stole this item from its rightful place, but also put written texts on it,’ she wrote.
“It was a big mistake on my part and only now, as an adult, do I realize how thoughtless and despicable it was.”
Jess wrote that she was trying to wash away the message, which she had inscribed with a black felt-tip pen. But she couldn’t erase the writing.
Museum officials are not sure where the marble came from, although it is believed to have originated from the Forum Romanum, a site of important political and religious activities around 500 BC.
“From his tone, we can imagine it was a young woman,” said Stephane Verger, director of the National Roman Museum. Il Messaggero newspaper.
‘She must have come to Rome in 2017 and took this piece of marble to give it to her boyfriend.
“It impressed me precisely because she is young – she understood she had made a mistake.”
This is the second time in two months that a North American tourist has returned ancient artifacts stolen from a historic site in Italy.
Last month, it was revealed that a Canadian tourist who stole artifacts from Pompeii in 2005 sent them back to the ancient city, claiming they had caused her 15 years of bad luck.
The woman, known only as Nicole, 36, sent a package containing two mosaic tiles, a piece of ceramic and parts of an amphora to a travel agency in the southern Italian city.
She also wrote a confession letter describing her theft and her subsequent setback, including two cases of breast cancer and financial hardship.
According to The Telegraph, she wrote: “Please take them back, they bring bad luck.”
She said she brought the artifacts because she wanted to own a piece of history that no one else had, but they had “so much negative energy … linked to that land of destruction.”
Pompeii was destroyed after the eruption of Vesuvius in AD 79, covering the ancient city with volcanic ash and preserved until it was rediscovered in the 16th century.
Nicole added that she learned her lesson and asked God for forgiveness.
She said: ‘I am now 36 and have had breast cancer twice. The last time ended in a double mastectomy.
Last month, it was revealed that a Canadian tourist who stole artifacts from Pompeii in 2005 was sending them back to the ancient city for being ‘cursed’. The file photo above shows the Pompeii archaeological site
My family and I also had financial problems. We are good people and I do not want to pass this curse on to my family or children. ‘
Her package also included a confession letter written by a Canadian couple who had stolen from the site in 2005.
She said they took the artifacts without thinking about those who suffered there thousands of years ago.
The old town is one of the most visited attractions in Italy and has had to deal with many tourists plundering its ruins.
So many stolen relics have been returned to the site, along with letters expressing guilt that officials in Pompeii set up a museum to display them.
Some thieves have even tried to sell parts of Pompeii online, with a stone from the ruins appearing on eBay in 2015.
Museum officials in Rome wondered if the American tourist who returned the marble did so after reading about Nicole.
‘Who knows?’ said Verger. She may have heard of the Canadian woman.
The year 2020, decimated by the Covid pandemic, made people think, but also moved the conscience.
“The fact is, she returned it three years after the theft – it’s a very important symbolic gesture.”
According to Verger, the marble comes from Asia Minor.
Jess made sure the relic arrived unscathed, while carefully preparing the delivery package.
“The cover letter was quite moving,” said Verger.