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Art Theft

MONTERODUNI, Italy — The recent return to Monteroduni of a 16th-century statue of the archangel Michael — stolen by thieves some 20 months earlier — was a heartfelt affair.

A marching band led a procession through the narrow streets of the town, in the Molise region, about two and a half hours drive from Rome. The band was followed by a religious confraternity in full regalia, as members of the military police’s art-theft unit carried the statue to Monteroduni’s main church.

With a sizable portion of the town’s residents marching happily in tow, children popped balloons and scattered confetti, bells rang joyfully and some older residents wiped away tears of joy.

“Evviva San Michele,” came a cry from the crowd.

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