“Un giorno mia zia mi chiese di andare a pagare una bolletta alle poste. Io andai. Ma l’impiegato era lento e detti un pugno sul bancone. Nel movimento si vide la finta pistola che portavo sotto la cintura. L’impiegato credette che fosse una rapina e mi consegnò i soldi. Io pensai: “È così facile?”. E me ne andai col bottino.”
“One day my aunt asked me to go and pay a bill at the post office. I went. But the employee was slow and I banged my fist on the counter. When I moved, the fake pistol that I carried in my belt became visible. The post office employee thought it was a robbery and handed me the money. I thought: “Is it that easy?”. And I took off with the loot.” Thus began the criminal career of Luciano Lutring, "Il Solista del Mitra" (The Machine Gun Soloist)
Una Vita da Fuorilegge, Luciano Lutring, Milano, 30 dicembre 1937 – Verbania, 13 maggio 2013.
Lutring’s parents had had other plans for their son. They dreamt of him becoming a famous violinist, but from an early age Luciano’s rebellious nature became apparent, and as he grew so did his interest in le belle donne e la bella vita (beautiful women and the good life). He acquired his first pistol, a Canadian Police Smith & Wesson, from a friend, although he was unable to get hold of any bullets for it. This was the pistol which he carried in his belt when he ‘accidentally’ robbed the post office, and set into motion his vita da fuorilegge (life as an outlaw). Here’s a video in which Lutring talks about his life, including a slightly elaborated version of the Post Office incident (at 3:35).
His parent’s wishes, however, were not completely wasted. Luciano found an excellent use for his violin case. It was just the right size for smuggling his mitra (machine gun) into the bank or shop which he intended to rob! And it was this trick that earned him the soprannome (nickname) "Il Solista del Mitra".
Lutring soon became a legendary character, famous for his taste in expensive hotels, designer cars, and beautiful women. He was viewed by the public as a "ladro gentiluomo" (“gentleman thief”), and was well know for the phrases in Milanese dialect which he pronounced at the scene of his crimes. One day, however, he committed a crime which was to have unexpected, and long lasting consequences.
During a brief ‘working’ holiday at the seaside town of Cesenatico, where tourists provided rich pickings, he stole a suitcase from a beautiful young Valtellinese model called Elsa Candida Pasini, resident in Zurich. According to Lutring, when he opened the case he found it filled with beautiful things, and realised that the two of them shared the same taste. Luciano decided to make the acquaintance of his victim, and having hung around outside her hotel for several hours, finally had the opportunity to present himself to her. Elsa, however, had no wish to talk to the ‘Italians’, who, according to her, were all thieves. In fact, only a few hours earlier, she told Luciano, one of these malavitosi (lit: badlives) had stolen her suitcase! Luciano intimated to her that he had a few connections in the local underworld, and would see what he could do to help. The following day he went back to Elsa’s hotel with good news: he had managed to ‘find’ her suitcase. Luciano and Elsa were married shortly afterwards.
To be continued …