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Last Updated: Monday, 13 October, 2003, 06:09 GMT 07:09 UK
'Prince of thieves' shot dead
Cufflinks stolen from Prince Charles in 1994
The thief offered to return the stolen items
A man who admitted stealing jewellery belonging to the Prince of Wales has been shot dead at his Italian home.

Renato Rinino said he broke into St James's Palace while on holiday in the UK nine years ago and took property including watches, cufflinks, and tie pins.

Three years later he confessed to the robbery after waiting until a time limit for prosecution had passed under Italian law.

Rinino was killed over the weekend by a gunman who called at his flat in Savona, near Genoa in northern Italy, and shot him in the head.

Police say they do not know the motive for the attack, in which Rinino's brother was injured.

Rinino, who had been dubbed the "prince of thieves," also claimed to have stolen private correspondence from Camilla Parker-Bowles to Prince Charles, though St James's Palace has always denied this.

Newspaper clue

He had offered to return the stolen property on condition he could meet the prince, but this offer was apparently never accepted.

Italian authorities handed back the items after recovering them from Rinino's kitchen while he was in prison for another offence.

Rinino had said he carried out the theft to end a career of crime and open a pizzeria.

He said he had only realised he had stolen from a prince when he saw the newspapers the next day.

Rinino had another run-in with the Italian authorities just two days before he was shot, when he was spotted breaking the terms of parole for another crime.


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