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3 men who dress as gladiators arrested for allegedly extorting money from Rome tourists

Two tourists surf in Venice canal illegally
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Three men who dress in historic costumes and take photos with tourists in Rome have been arrested by Italy's State Police. The police allege they extort tourists by demanding money after suggesting taking a selfie. 

The Questura di Roma, or Rome police department, investigated the men, who typically stand outside of the Colosseum, an iconic ancient amphitheater and popular tourist site in the Italian capital, dressed as gladiators or Roman Army commanders known as centurions.

Foreign tourists submitted complaints about the three men in August and September, alleging they took 500 euros – about $525 U.S. dollars – from them, police said in a Facebook post.

Roma. La #PoliziadiStato, a seguito di approfondite indagini coordinate dalla Procura della Repubblica di Roma, ha...

Posted by Questura di Roma on Saturday, November 26, 2022

The men acted similarly outside the Flavio amphitheater, inviting "victims" to take a photo with them and then "demanded, even with violence and threats," money, the Questura di Roma said in a Facebook post. 

A tourist from northern Italy reported one of the men asked for 40 euros for a photo, but when they refused, two of the men allegedly threatened to beat him and then took 150 euros.

A tourist from Ireland said he told the men he had no money and they allegedly forced him to go to the nearest ATM, where he withdrew 200 euros. The men were dissatisfied and made him withdraw another 50, investigators say. 

Investigators identified the three men and two are being detained under house arrest, while the other is in custody, because he didn't have a suitable place to fulfill house arrest. They are presumed innocent until proven guilty. 

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