Maybe the teen busted this summer for stealing a ceiling tile at the ancient city of Pompeii in order to buy an iphone got lucky.
According to Italian newspaper Corriere Della Sera, tourists who nabbed historic mementos during their trips to the Italian city have been returning them because of fears that they are cursed.
The paper says that over the past few years, around 100 parcels containing items from the site have been sent back, often with letters of explanation saying that troubles in their lives could be traced back to the theft at Pompeii.
Massimo Osanna, Pompeii’s archaeological superintendent, told the newspaper that small statues, pottery and tiles are among the items that have been sent to him.
One of these was written by a Spanish man who returned several items, including a bronze statue, because it had ruined his family.
Another came from an English woman who had inherited a stolen tile from her parents who had recently died.
“Please don’t judge them too harshly,” she wrote in her letter. “They were different times.”
It’s believed that Pompeii is cursed because the eruption of Mount Vesuvius that wiped out the city and its inhabitants occured because the gods ordered the punishment after legionaries destroyed holy buildings.
Now, Osanna is thinking about creating an exhibition of the returned artifacts and letters to tell the story behind some of the stolen pieces.
Meanwhile, last week four French tourists were charged with aggravated theft after being caught trying to steal pieces of Pompeii’s famous frescoes, La Repubblica reported.