After Tunnel Collapses, Alleged Thieves Call Cops

Firefighters worked for 8 hours to free a man, later arrested, from tunnel below Rome
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 12, 2022 11:31 AM CDT
After Tunnel Collapses, Alleged Thieves Call Cops
Italian firefighters rescue a man who was trapped in a tunnel, in Rome, on Thursday.   (Giorgio Farolfi Via AP)

(Newser) – A man rescued from a tunnel 20 feet beneath the streets of Rome may have suffered the consequences of his own attempted bank robbery. One of three alleged gang members who escaped the tunnel when it collapsed below the surface of a road near the Vatican on Thursday called for help, saying a fourth individual was stuck, per the BBC. "I beg you to get me out," a voice could be heard shouting as emergency personnel dug a parallel hole, per the Guardian. He was provided with oxygen and liquid sustenance over the eight hours it took to free him. He was finally carried out on a stretcher as a watching crowd cheered.

He was taken to a hospital with critical but not life-threatening injuries, authorities said. They added he was one of two people arrested for damage to public property. Two others were arrested for resisting a public official after allegedly trying to flee the scene. More serious charges may follow, however. "We do not exclude that they are thieves; it is one of the theories," a police rep tells AFP, per the Guardian. Local media—which referred to those involved as "mole man" and "the hole gang"—speculated that the tunnel, which began at an empty shop that was recently rented, was part of a plot to rob a nearby bank over the coming holiday weekend, when "much of Rome is left empty," per the Local. (Read more Italy stories.)

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