Italy Apprehends ‘Most Wanted’ US Fugitive in St Peter’s Square

Thu Apr 18 2024
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ROME: Italian police apprehended a “most wanted” US 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.

Identified as Moises Tejada, the fugitive is currently under police custody and is deemed violent by the investigations unit of the New York State Prison Service. Tejada is featured on the department’s list of most wanted individuals.

The news of the arrest was initially reported by Italy’s la Repubblica newspaper and later confirmed by the aforementioned source. Tejada, alternatively spelled as Teiada, drew suspicion from law enforcement officers who detained him, discovering the 20 cm (8 inches) long knives in his possession.

St. Peter’s Square was teeming with pilgrims and tourists during Pope Francis’s general audience on that Wednesday, April 10. Whether Tejada, who has prior convictions for robbery and kidnapping, posed a direct threat to the Pope remains unclear.

Investigators have determined that Tejada had recently arrived in Rome from Moldova, having previously spent time in Ukraine. He informed investigators that he had been in Ukraine since 2022, purportedly fighting against the Russian invasion, as per la Repubblica.

The Italian authorities await a response from their American counterparts regarding potential extradition proceedings.

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