July 28, 1995 in Nation/World

Banks Robbers Infected With Aids Virus Take Advantage Of Law

Associated Press

A gang of bandits has been arrested five times in two months for robbing banks. Each time, they’ve been released - under a law that bans the jailing of people who have the virus that causes AIDS.

The four struck again Tuesday. Armed with switchblades, they made off with $27,000 from a Turin bank.

Last week, two of the gang’s alleged members - Antonio Lamarra, 26, and Ferdinando Attanasio, 37 - were arrested while fleeing from another robbery. They were later released.

Lamarra and Attanasio were re-arrested Wednesday after being identified in a closed-circuit security film of Tuesday’s heist. The other suspects, identified as Sergio Magnis, 29, and a fourth man whose name was not released, were at large Thursday.

Police spokesman Filippo Dispenza said most of the money taken in the robberies hasn’t been recovered.

Lamarra and Attanasio were being detained in a hospital. Their cases will be heard by magistrates on Friday, Dispenza said. Authorities then will have to release them.

The law was enacted when legislators argued that suspects or criminals who have the AIDS virus need special care and should, if necessary, be held in hospitals rather than jails. There are few hospital jail wards, however.

© Copyright 1995 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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