Rome, Italy - (Rioters): An old age pensioner who lives close to the Via Dolorosa in a Vatican 'grace and favor' apartment strewn with trash and excrement was found to be hoarding a huge stash of pure gold worth over $1.5 million in his seedy dwelling.
Neighbors claimed he often raided dustbins to eat and sometimes spent evenings with vagrants, drinking cheap liquor and begging for cash from passers-by.
During the height of the summer this year a foul stench coming from his room got so bad that residents in the block called in social services, in case the man had died.
It took several weeks of cat-and-mouse playing before the elderly gent could be tricked into coming out and the sight that greeted city officials 'literally made their eyes water' said one source.
"The whole room was jam-packed with fetid garbage," a sanitation department operative confirmed today.
"And brimming with flies, cockroaches and dead vermin roasting on the windowsills.
"The old guy looked like he hadn't had a wash since 1960 and had surrounded himself with the sort of garbage you normally see on the municipal dump waiting for incineration. God knows why he never used the toilet down the hall in his block."
But among the debris official found an astonishing 430 gold bars worth $1 million, and a mass of gold coins worth maybe half that.
"Maybe he was some kind of Mafia guy once and has hoarded this stash becasue of being afraid to spend it," a social services official said today.
The pensioner has now been given a shower and clean clothing before being taken to a nursing home while police try to trace the bullion found in his apartment.
"Maybe the Pope gave it to him along with the freebie apartment?"