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Costa Concordia Thieves Nab Bells From Shipwrecked Cruise

Costa Concordia Thieves Nab Bells From Shipwrecked Cruise

The sunken cruise ship Costa Concordia may have been invaded a few weeks back by thieves looking to steal the ship's symbolic bell.

The location of the wreckage is considered a crime scene by Italian authorities who believe that thieves might have evaded 24-hour surveillance by the Italian coastguard, as well as well as a series of laser systems put in place to measure shifts near the sunken ship, in order to remove the bell from one of the ship's decks.

It is unclear why the bell would have been stolen and investigators have launched a probe into the case of the missing bell.

"I can only guess that someone took it as sort of a morbid memento," Mayor of Giglio Sergio Oretelli told Reuters.

The constant surveillance would have made it difficult for thieves to have simply taken the large bell from the wreckage unnoticed, and it is possible that it dislodged itself from the ship, according to BBC Rome correspondent Alan Johnston.

The Costa Concordia was carrying 4,200 passengers and crewmembers when it capsized off the Tuscan island of Giglio.

The ship's captain Francesco Schettino is being accused by prosecutors of bringing the large ship too close to shore in a bid to show off the stunning vessel to islanders, which caused a run-in with a rock in the Tyrrhenian Sea.

The gash on the side of the ship caused water to flood the engine rooms and the ship to capsize just hours after it had left port. The accident killed 32 people. Seven bodies remain unaccounted for.

The first closed-door evidence hearing into the shipwreck began late last month in the Tuscan city of Grosseto. Findings from the hearing will help the court determine if a trial against Schettino is warranted.

The next hearing is scheduled to take place in July.

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