Four workmen were arrested in Rome on 14 November, accused of stealing part of the money thrown into the Trevi fountain by tourists. When they were stopped they were found to have two buckets full of coins in their vehicles. It is estimated that they were taking about 2,000 weekly. Tourists toss 500,000 into the fountain annually, as tradition has it that, by throwing a coin into the water your return to Rome is assured.
The four, who work for contractors emptying and cleaning the fountain twice a week, had been under suspicion for some time as the takings from the fountain had decreased.
The money collected from the fountain is normally given to the Catholic charity Caritas, which uses it for various initiatives. Within 24 hours the four men had been released from prison because Caritas had not initiated any legal proceedings against them. If Caritas does not proceed, lawyers for the city council are expected to take action.