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Police Arrest Two; Blame Cash-Short Mafia For Holdup

October 23, 1995

PALERMO, Sicily (AP) _ Police blamed the Mafia on Sunday for a $7 million post office holdup and arrested two suspects even before the money had been counted.

After a shootout Saturday, police arrested Aurelio Neri and his son, Mario Neri, hours after a holdup of the main post office. Father and son are key operatives in a Mafia clan, investigators say.

No injuries were reported in the shootout or the robbery, in which bandits trained their guns on employees before making off with sacks of cash and more than $1 million in bank certificates.

Italian post offices double as banks for millions of people, who use them to deposit cash in savings accounts, pay bills and conduct other transactions.

Police said the younger Neri was arrested Saturday night when they stopped his off-road vehicle after the shootout. After seizing post-office sacks filled with some of the booty, police went to the Neri apartment, where they found the father sorting through stacks of cash.

At least two other men are being sought in the holdup. About half the cash was recovered, police said.

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