Wild and daring designs on Versace's ashes

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The Independent Online
Who would want to steal the golden urn containing Gianni Versace's ashes? Plenty of people, no doubt, though surely none for the bizarre reasons that pushed an Italian businessman, Gianfranco Paesano, to try his luck.

Paesano gave up his attempt almost immediately after triggering the alarm system at Moltrasio cemetery on Lake Como (the cemetery is just a stone's throw away from the super-protected Versace country home, Villa Fontanelle). He then gave himself up to the police with the following incredible story.

A venture capitalist from Udine in the northeast, he had returned to Italy from eastern Europe to buy up stock for his shops in Romania and Hungary, but had been robbed of all his money in a porn cinema in the city of Como. An Albanian had approached him in the cinema and promised him a night of passion with a beautiful young woman, but merely led him into an ambush where he was fleeced by a whole gang of criminals.

The Albanians then made Paesano a very strange offer. Bring us the ashes of Gianni Versace, they said, and we'll let you have your money back.

Paesano tried his luck, but underestimated the difficulty of the task. Abandoning his fence-cutting tools (which he later recovered under police escort as proof of the veracity of his tale), he scurried away and threw himself on the mercy of the law.