Monday, August 15, 2011

Undercover ops

Generations of filmgoers have seen various films about cops pretending to be criminals in order to bust the bad guys, and I understand that it actually happens now and then. I just haven't seen this kind of undercover work, though that may just be because it's an Italian thing...
Undercover police have donned togas, capes and sandals to stop a turf battle among Italians who impersonate gladiators outside the Colosseum and other landmarks in Rome and make money by posing for camera carrying tourists.

The trade has been tolerated for years, but that was before about 20 of the practitioners began assaulting and intimidating their competitors to take over lucrative tourist spots such as the Colosseum, the Forum and the Vatican, officials and police said Friday.

So police decided to intervene disguised as gladiators, garbage collectors and tourists, but their operation at the ancient arena and the nearby Piazza Venezia wasn't easy.

On Wednesday, police impersonating gladiators were attacked when they told competitors to leave the scene, but police dressed as garbage collectors and tourists came to their rescue.
They seem to have a costume budget that a lot of Broadway shows would envy.

I wish there was a photo of the Italian cops dressed as "tourists," though. Do they have undercover fat Italian guys in USA T-shirts or imported Asian detectives? Do the police gladiators ever ask to be transferred to fake-garbage collector duty, or vice-versa?

In fact, is this where rogue members of the Rome PD get transferred?

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