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Robbers target archbishop by accident... then abandon stolen crucifix

The items they stole were made of metal, and not gold.

Image: AP/Press Association Images

A TRIO OF thieves got less than they might have bargained for after robbing a man who turned out to be the archbishop of Rio de Janeiro.

The robbers realised their victim was Archbishop Orani Tempesta after they stopped his car and demanded he and his fellow passengers hand over their valuables.

The three took Tempesta’s episcopal ring and chain, replete with crucifix, during the theft in Rio’s tropical but isolated Sumare district.

Fled the scene

But they left both items in the road on fleeing the scene — either moved to repent on seeing who they had attacked or else upon finding Tempesta’s symbols of office were metal and not made of gold, his spokesman told AFP.

Tempesta had just come from giving mass at the secluded Sumare residence where Pope Francis stayed during a visit in July last year.

Tempesta’s spokesman said:

He did not come to any harm. There were just some items stolen and police have recovered most from the roadside where the robbers threw them as they fled.

Had the armed thieves hoped for a golden windfall they would have been disappointed, he added.

“The items were not gold, they are made of metal and are of no value.”

The spokesman said Tempesta, 64, did not wish to comment as “what happened could have happened to anyone.”

- © AFP, 2014

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