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A Chinese tourist happy to see police officers from her own country patrolling with Italian officers near the Colosseum in Rome, May 5, 2016. — Picture by Nadia Shira Cohen/The New York TimesA Chinese tourist happy to see police officers from her own country patrolling with Italian officers near the Colosseum in Rome, May 5, 2016. — Picture by Nadia Shira Cohen/The New York Times

ROME, June 20 — An Italian fugitive who spent five years on the run has been caught hiding in a wardrobe after giving himself away to police by visiting his old mum.

The 49-year-old Sicilian had been serving a two-year sentence under house arrest for illegally carrying a weapon in public when he escaped in 2012, fleeing the country before returning to hide out near Rome, police said yesterday.

The man, who had previous convictions for robbery and narcotics, “perhaps thought the police had forgotten about him, that they were tired of hunting a man who only had one year left to serve,” a police statement said.

“Unfortunately for him, that was not the case.”

Detectives had been keeping a close eye on the man’s elderly mother, his ex-partner and his young daughter, all of whom lived near the capital.

Just two months ago officers searched the mother’s house only to discover “an open window and a man’s abandoned clothes and socks”.

On Friday they hit gold: a raid on the ex-partner’s home in Ostia, a seaside town near Rome, turned up one fugitive, hiding in his daughter’s wardrobe. — AFP

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