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Italian pretends he's pilot, hitches ride in cockpit, police say

| Saturday, Sept. 22, 2012, 9:46 p.m.

ROME — Italian police describe it as a real-life sequel to ‘‘Catch Me If You Can,” the hit movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio in the true story about an ingenious con artist masquerading as a commercial airline pilot.

An unemployed 32-year-old Italian man was stopped in Turin's Caselle airport on suspicion he successfully used false IDs, a cap and uniform to convince a crew he was a pilot and let him fly for free inside the cockpit aboard a commercial flight from Munich to Turin, Carabinieri paramilitary police said on Saturday.

Police said two real pilots flew the Air Dolomiti plane in April. The man, who wasn't identified, didn't touch the controls while in the cockpit. Police got a tip and finally caught up with him on Wednesday in the Turin airport terminal.

On his Facebook profile, the man falsely bragged he was a commercial pilot and claimed he was promoted to captain's rank while young.

A police statement said the suspect was cited for suspicion of putting at risk the security of air transport and ‘‘usurping a title” and was allowed to remain free on his own recognizance while the investigation continues.

When police caught up with him, the suspect was dressed in a pilot's uniform without a company logo.

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