The Aviano Air Base exchange store in Italy on Oct. 26, 2018.

The Aviano Air Base exchange store in Italy on Oct. 26, 2018. (Norman Llamas/Stars and Stripes)

US dependent sentenced in Italian court for stealing from AAFES

AVIANO AIR BASE, Italy — A dependent of a U.S. servicemember formerly stationed at Aviano AB received a suspended 12-month jail sentence and a 130 euro fine after being found guilty of stealing nearly 2,000 euros worth of merchandise from the Base Exchange.

The sentence was handed down Wednesday to Taylor Castillo Collazo, a U.S. citizen, by an Italian court in Pordenone, said Sonia Posocco, an Italian legal specialist assigned to the 31st Fighter Wing’s Legal Office.

The local newspaper Il Gazzettino said Collazo was found guilty for trying to steal merchandise from the base exchange on unspecified dates. When approached by security, she returned the goods. Charges were brought against her because surveillance footage revealed that she had been shoplifting dating back to 2014, the newspaper said.

According to Posocco, someone reported the attempted theft to the local police and the case ended up in the local Italian court.

“When Italian police get involved, the case gets heard and tried by an Italian court,” Posocco said.

Since the accused wasn’t in Italy by the time the case was tried, a court-appointed lawyer stood in for the accused, she said.

In Italy, jail sentences of three years or less are automatically suspended due to overcrowding in correctional facilities.

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Norman covers the U.S. military in Northern Italy and sometimes elsewhere for Stars and Stripes. He was born in Guatemala and raised in Rhode Island. He has more than 10 years of experience as an Army photojournalist and has served as a photojournalism instructor at the Defense Information School.

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