Rome - Italian
police said they caught a criminal gang on Tuesday that had been plotting
to steal the body of Formula One racing pioneer Enzo Ferrari for ransom.
Detectives in Sardinia said they had stumbled across the plot while
investigating a group of 30 or so crooks who were involved in drug and
arms trafficking on the Italian island but were exploring other
One was a plan to steal the mortal remains of the racing driver -
who founded the Ferrari Grand Prix motor racing team and prancing horse
brand before dying - and demand money from his family for the body's
They had plotted in detail how to steal the coffin, hide it, and contact the family, police said.
Ferrari, who died aged 90 in 1988, is buried in a cemetery in Modena
behind a plate of marble in a large chapel secured by a heavy iron gate.
Some 300 officers armed with over 30 arrest warrants clapped the gang members in cuffs early Tuesday morning, police said.
Italy is no stranger to body-abduction cases. Among the most famous
was the theft in 1992 of the body of four-year-old Raffaele Bagni - the
son of a former football player - a month after his death in a car
It was Italian cases that inspired the theft in 1978 of Charlie
Chaplin's coffin in Switzerland by a Polish and Bulgarian grave robber.