… but it gets better: he intended to sell it on eBay to cover the cost of an iPhone.
According to the various reports, a sixteen-year-old Dutch tourist took a roof tile from a domus on the Via dell’Abbondanza but was spotted and turned in to authorities by another tourist. He was later arrested, charged with attempted theft, and handed over to his angry mother. All reports also include variations on a ‘dealer’ quote:
“A simple terracotta tile actually has a very low value, we don’t even trade them,” Carole Elena, a dealer in Roman artefacts, told The Local.
“Being a tile from Pompeii, its provenance might have given it some extra value, but I’d say it’s worth a maximum of €400… but obviously items like this are priceless in terms of their historical value.”
For the record, as of today there seem to be two examples available on eBay … one is a fragment of a Roman Roof Tile, which is less than a Euro; there is another OLD ARAB OR ROMAN SPANISH TILE ROOF which doesn’t look Roman at all and which is priced over 1000 Euros (or best offer). In either case, it seems unlikely he would raise enough to pay for an iPhone.
As for the purloined tile, it was returned, but no one knows which domus the little idiot took it from…