Thieves' smoke bombs spark panic in Venice's St Mark's Square

Associated Press
News reports said thieves attempting to rob a jewelry store in the landmark area set off panic among tourists when they ignited smoke bombs to cover their movements - AP

Thieves attempting to rob a jewellery store in Venice's famous St Mark's Square set off panic among tourists when they ignited smoke bombs to cover their movements, according to reports.

The news agency ANSA said one smoke bomb was set off on Friday near St Mark's Basilica bell tower, and another in the middle of the famed colonnaded square. 

The Bell Tower in San Marco Square is filled with smoke as visitors rush out of the doors. The smoke appears to be going upwards #Venicepic.twitter.com/JQWlKRsAm5

— Nicole DeMentri (@nicoledementri) March 17, 2017

Panic ensued, the news agency reported, as tourists and merchants suspected either a fire or a possible attack.

The Gazzettino daily reported that a tourist seated at an outdoor cafe table saw one person set off a smoke bomb and two others trying to enter a jewellery store and alerted police. The would-be robbers disappeared into the crowd.

Italian police declined to confirm details about the incident, saying it was under investigation. 

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