Italian police arrested ‘most wanted’ US fugitive in St Peter’s Square


ROME (Reuters) – Italian police arrested a “most wanted” U.S. fugitive last week who was carrying three concealed knives in a crowded St Peter’s Square outside the Vatican, a judicial source said on Thursday.

The fugitive, now in police custody, was named as Moises Tejada, who is classified as violent by the New York state prison service’s investigations unit.

He is listed among the department’s most wanted individuals.

The arrest was first reported by Italy’s la Repubblica newspaper and confirmed by the source.

Tejada, whose name has the alternative spelling of Teiada, attracted the suspicion of police who detained him and found he was carrying knives that were 20 cm (8 inches) long.

St Peter’s Square was busy with pilgrims and tourists as Pope Francis was holding a general audience that day, Wednesday April 10. It was not clear if Tejada, who has convictions for robbery and kidnapping, posed any threat to the pope.

Investigators have found that he had recently arrived in Rome from Moldova, having previously spent time in Ukraine.

He has told investigators he had been in Ukraine since 2022 fighting against the Russian invasion, la Repubblica reported.

The Italian authorities are waiting to hear if their U.S. counterparts want to extradite him.

(Reporting by Marco Carta and Alvise Armellini; Writing by Keith Weir, editing by Gavin Jones and Angus MacSwan)

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