Suspected Italian Mob Member Found Hiding in Plain Sight as a Pizza Chef in France

Edgardo Greco had been living as Paolo Dimitrio for more than a decade.

<p>Getty Images</p>

Getty Images

In July 2021, the French newspaper Le Progrès covered the opening of Caffé Rossini Ristorante, an Italian spot in Saint-Étienne. "Paolo Dimitrio opens the Italian restaurant of his dreams," the headline read, and the accompanying article said that chef and owner Dimitrio would be "creating elaborate Italian cuisine" using only the best local ingredients.

Caffé Rossini has since closed, but anyone who stopped in for pizza or pasta might've been surprised to read that Dimitrio was arrested on Thursday. On top of that, Dimitrio wasn't his name, and he wasn't a trained chef. According to Interpol, "Paolo Dimitrio" was actually Edgardo Greco, a member of the notorious 'Ndrangheta mafia who had been on the run for 16 years.

In a press release, Interpol said that Greco had previously been convicted and handed a life sentence for the murder of two brothers from a rival gang. He was also wanted for the attempted murder of another mobster as part of southern Italy's "mafia wars" in the late '90s.

:Italian Mobster Opens Organized Crime-Themed Burger Joint, Charges Prosecutors Double

"No matter how hard fugitives try to slip into a quiet life abroad, they cannot evade justice forever," Interpol Secretary General Jürgen Stock said. "Dedicated officers around the world will always ensure that justice is served."

Greco was taken into custody on Thursday after a coordinated effort from multiple law-enforcement agencies. France’s BNRF (Brigade Nationale de Recherche des Fugitifs) made the arrest, while Italian police investigators confirmed Greco’s identity.  

According to The Daily Beast, Greco’s “Paolo Dimitrio” alias was actually the name of another Italian mobster, which got the attention of Italy’s anti-mafia police. After tracking him to Caffé Rossini — and to another pizzeria where he worked — undercover officers stopped in and obtained enough DNA evidence to determine that he was, in fact, the fugitive they’d been looking for.

Greco isn’t the only Mafioso to find his way into the kitchen. In 2021, convicted murderer and well-connected mobster Salvatore Buzzi opened a burger joint in the suburbs of Rome. The menu at Buzzi’s Burger was filled with mob references, including burgers, hot dogs, and salads that were named for members of Rome’s Banda della Magliana criminal organization.

Buzzi also noted that the menu prices were subject to change based on, well, whether he liked you or not. “In this club, everyone pays, friends, relatives, and acquaintances," he said. "But prosecutors pay double, and judges pay triple."

The restaurant was short-lived, unsurprisingly, due to Buzzi’s criminal history. “If [my appeal] goes wrong, I will turn myself in,” Buzzi wrote on Facebook last September. “You still have a few days to eat the criminal sandwiches, to listen to stories that no one tells, and to come visit me.”

Buzzi is currently back in prison and is facing a sentence of up to seven years. Buzzi’s Burger has since closed.