FARMERS FOIL RUSSIAN NINJA by Denis Greenan.
(ANSA) - Rovigo, June 12 - Two elderly Italian farmers
have ended the reign of terror of a bow-and-arrow-wielding
Russian 'ninja' bandit who spread fear across northeastern
Italy for weeks.
Police had been vainly scouring the countryside for the
black-clad villain, his head wrapped in a black bandana, a
powerful bow in one hand and a knife strapped behind one leg.
The sinister figure struck isolated farms at dusk,
forcing farmers to hand over cash and valuables at
arrow-point. Victims were usually so afraid that they didn't
report the attack until the next day.
The ninja's spree ended after his sixth raid on Monday
night, when the feisty oldsters gave him more than he'd
bargained for after he smashed down a door and leaped into
Undaunted by the fearsome intruder, 73-year-old Luigi
Zampieri started shouting at him to get out.
His brother Giovanni, 71, ran down the stairs with his
hunting rifle and took a tumble on the last step that let off
a shot, scaring the ninja off.
"The fellow took fright and ran away, slipping on the
broken glass from the door, then hopped on a bicycle and went
hell-for-leather through the cornfields, riding his bike as
if it were a horse," Giovanni said.
"I took another potshot at him for good measure".
"In situations like that you get all your old strength
Police raced to the scene and trailed the robber to an
abandoned farmhouse where he gave himself up without a fight.
As well as his bow and knife, police found three daggers
in a knapsack along with a night scope he used to scout
targets and a head-torch for breaking into unlit premises.
The man was identified as Igor Vaclavic, 32, a former
infantryman in the Russian army.
Quizzed by police about his chosen get-up and weapons,
Vaclavic claimed to have been "inspired by my idol Robin
A police inspector said: "I've seen a lot of things in my
long career but this takes the cake".