Nun on the run: Italian fraud avoided the police for two years by pretending to be a religious sister
Nun on the run: Italian fraud has avoided the police for two years by posing as a religious sister and living in monasteries throughout Italy
- The 47-year-old woman fled after being convicted by a Sicilian court
- She pretended to be a “sister seeking help” to deceive nuns at different monasteries
- The woman was finally arrested last week after a nun became suspicious
An Italian fraudster escaped justice for two years by pretending to be a nun and living in monasteries in northern Italy.
The 47-year-old woman, who has not been named, fled at the end of 2017 because she was convicted of fraud by a Sicilian court and sentenced to two years in prison in her absence.
She was finally arrested last week after spending the last two years among monasteries and posing as a “sister seeking help and claiming she was seriously ill.”
The bizarre story has echoes of the 1990 British comedy film Nuns on the Run, with Eric Idle and Robbie Coltrane in the lead as bank robbers who dress like nuns and hide in a monastery.
The fraudster took refuge and hid himself in different monasteries while posing as a nun (file photo of a nun signed on St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican)
The bizarre story has echoes of the 1990 British comedy film Nuns on the Run, with Eric Idle and Robbie Coltrane in the lead as bank robbers who dress like nuns and hide in a monastery
The fraudster sought refuge in various monasteries in the northern regions of Piedmont and Lombardy and changed her identity every time she moved.
Police said they had interviewed several nuns who had been taken in by the woman from Acqui Terme in Piedmont.
The nuns in a monastery where she stayed for only a few days said they claimed to be the cousin of one of their sisters.
At other monasteries she just described herself as a nun and didn’t say much about her background anymore.
A monastery said she pretended to be a mother superior.
Most nuns said that she seemed to be a “very friendly woman” who had easily won their trust.
But she was caught last week when a nun from a Benedictine monastery in Gallarate in the province of Varese in Lombardy became suspicious and the police called.
She told them that the woman’s stories were “full of contradictions,” and that she continued to change her version of events.
When the police interviewed the woman, she seemed confused about basic biographical information and a stolen identity card was found in her possession.
After her arrest, they determined who she really was and accused her of false identity.
She is not the first criminal to use a religious disguise to evade justice in Italy.
In 2013, a 61-year-old Calabrian drug dealer wore a priest’s sock while importing cocaine from France in a car.
The feared Sicilian Mafia boss Salvatore ‘Toto’ Riina dressed as a priest to attend meetings with other members of the organization in Calabria for 23 years as a refugee before his imprisonment in 1993.
Bernardo Provenzano, another Mafia boss, is said to have dressed as a bishop from time to time during his 43-year flight before being finally arrested in 2006.
Feared mafia boss Salvatore ‘Toto’ Riina disguised himself as a priest to attend meetings with other members of the organization in Calabria for 23 years as a refugee before his capture. (He was pictured here during his trial in 1993)