According to Italian authorities, Roman tourists are taking home more than the typical gift from a gift shop.
In fact, airport security has found increasing cobblestones, mile markers and other artifacts showing up in tourist luggage, according to ABC News.
“The phenomenon is definitely on the increase,” said Antonio del Grego, head of the capital Fiumicino’s frontier police. “The airport police and security are on the alert.”
On Sunday, Roman police displayed many of the artifacts that have been stolen by mostly northern European tourists in the past six months.
“It's a particularly unusual theft and at the same time it's one that we are finding is on the increase and happening more and more often,” del Grego said. “Those primarily responsible are northern Europeans who have simply picked up a loose cobble stone or piece of mosaic they have found while wandering around Rome.”
In addition to the cobblestones, tourists have also been caught attempting to steal volcanic rock as well as ancient Roman mosaics.
According to The Huffington Post, the artifacts do not have any monetary value and the tourists, although embarrassed, have not been arrested.
Del Grego said that they were still attempting to take “away part of Rome’s culture and heritage.”
The tourists were simply cautioned and asked to return home while the ancient artifacts were returned.