Trevi Fountain coin thief D'Artagnan dies in Rome

Roman character became famous for stealing the Trevi Fountain coins

Roberto Cercelletta, better known to Romans as "D'Artagnan", the infamous thief of coins from the Trevi Fountain, died in Rome on 18 December. 

D'Artagnan was known for repeatedly fishing out the coins thrown by tourists into the waters of the baroque fountain, usually striking just after dawn.

He was arrested numerous times over the years and received hundreds of warnings from police to stop stealing the coins. In 2002 the ladro romano di monetine even appeared on the front page of The New York Times.

In 2011 D'Artagnan staged a protest at the Trevi Fountain, claiming that collecting the coins was his official "profession" for years. He was also arrested on that occasion.

Legend has it that visitors who throw a coin into the fountain with their right hand over their left shoulder will be assured of a return trip to Rome. This tradition benefits the Roman Catholic charity Caritas which is entitled to the money to fund its shelters and buy food for the poor.

Photo La Repubblica