Sunday, March 04, 2007

Man Convicted of Setting La Fenice Fire Arrested

This article comes from the ASSOCIATED PRESS

Mexican police detain man convicted in 1996 fire at Italy's La Fenice opera house

11:48 a.m. March 2, 2007

ROME – Mexican authorities have arrested an Italian electrician convicted in the 1996 fire at La Fenice opera house in Venice, authorities in the two countries said.

Police detained Enrico Carella in the resort city of Cancun and authorities plan to extradite him to Italy, the Mexican Attorney General's office said in a statement Thursday.

The Mexicans were tipped by Italian police who discovered Carella was in the country by monitoring his contacts with friends back at home, the ANSA news agency reported.

Carella, 37, had been on the run since 2003, when Italy's top criminal court upheld convictions on arson charges for Carella and fellow electrician Massimiliano Marchetti, sentencing them to seven and six years in jail respectively, ANSA said.

La Fenice, a late 18th-century opera house, was being renovated when the two electricians torched it the night of Jan. 29, 1996, to avoid fines their company faced for being behind in its work. The electricians admitted starting the blaze but insisted they only wanted to cause minor damage so they wouldn't have to pay the fines.

La Fenice, which means phoenix in Italian, rose from its ashes in December 2003, reopening its doors to the public after years of reconstruction.

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