They say it's never too late for a change in career path, and a recent arrest in France showed that anyone could take that to heart, and we do mean anyone.
A famed criminal who spent nearly two decades on the run from police after evading their capture in 2006 was recently found a few countries over, spending his time in a very different profession than the one he was practicing when police first took him down.
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Where You Least Expect It
A rather notable arrest was made in France last month—one with a fairly crazy story behind it.
Edgardo Greco, 63 at the time of the arrest, is a mafia hitman with supposed links to Italy's notorious 'ndranghetha gang. He's been on the run from authorities for 16 years, having lost police entirely. Well, until now, that is.
Where was he hiding from the feds all this while? Seems he was spending this chapter of his life as a pizza chef.
That's right, this extremely dangerous, famed mafia hitman was living it up making pizzas in France. He was arrested by French police in the southeastern city of Saint-Étienne.
Greco had already been convicted of killing two people back in 1991, having murdered brothers Stegano and Giuseppe Bartolomeo. At the time of the murder, Italian police said the two had been beaten to death with a metal bar in a fish shop in Calabria. "Their bodies were made to disappear and never found again," they described.
Brought To Justice
His crimes (which also include an accusation of attempted murder in a separate case), are believed to be linked to the "mafia wars" of the early '90s in Italy, namely between the Pino Sena and Perna Pranno organized crime gangs in the Cosenza region.
His sentence to life in prison was part of the 'Maxi Trial' that took place surrounding mafia-related crime, one that prosecuted and convicted hundreds of mafia workmen from 1986 to 1992.
Out In The Open
He then went on to "evade the execution" of a precautionary prison order related to said trial in 2006, as described by police. He escaped police custody in October of that same year, leading to the Catanzaro Public Prosecutor's Office issuing a European Arrest Warrant for him.
Then he was found in February, working at a small pizza shop in France under an assumed identity. Italian police even released a photo of him in his work uniform that appears to be a piece of promotional material for the restaurant.
Catching Them All
"No matter how hard fugitives try to slip into a quiet life abroad, they cannot evade justice forever," Italy's interior minister, Matteo Piantedosi, said in a statement. "Dedicated officers around the world will always ensure that justice is served."
Greco's arrest took place just two weeks after another big-name arrest, that of mafia boss Messina Denaro, who also had links to the 'ndrangetha gang and spent decades evading police as Italy's most-wanted man.
Both men were found just over a year after another Maxi Trial related to the 'ndrangetha group took place in 2021, wherein 350 alleged gang members appeared in Calabria, southern Italy.
"The capture of Edgardo Greco brings to justice one of the worst Italian criminals and demonstrates, for the umpteenth time, the capabilities and commitment of our police forces, which on this occasion have operated in collaboration with the French authorities," Piantedosi said.
This operation was part of Interpol's I-CAN project, which is an Italian-funded program that began in 2020. Its goal is to target members of the 'ndrangetha crime group and bring them to justice. Dozens of arrests have been made worldwide as a result of the program, and thankfully so.
The 'ndrangetha group has been a long-time concern for Italian authorities, as it's considered not only the most dangerous but the most powerful Italian crime group there is. They have ties globally and have their hands in plenty of illegal dealings.
A Person's Past
This story is wild, and leaves a lot for us to wonder. How did he escape police custody? How did he evade the law for so long? How did he end up in France? How did he end up as a pizza chef in France?
In a way, it reminds us that horrible people are all around us every day, and there's no telling what someone's history was until they're standing before you. Your grocery store cashier, your bank teller, your local librarian, there's no knowing what they've done or been through in their life!
This is certainly a "don't just a book by its cover" story, but with a different ending than we're used to.