Moises Tejada, who was on the OSI New York’s ‘most wanted’ list, was captured by police in Rome last week (Office of Special Investigations New York)



By Judy Jesoro Rotich

A fugitive on the US most-wanted list, 54-year-old Moises Tejada, was apprehended by Italian police in Rome last week. He was reportedly carrying three concealed knives while in the crowded St. Peter’s Square near the Vatican. The arrest occurred on April 10th during a papal audience, which drew a large number of tourists and pilgrims to the area. The knives Tejada possessed were each 20 centimeters (0.66 foot) long.

 

“Tejada has convictions for robbery and kidnapping and is classified as “violent”. The OSI website states that all those on its list should be considered “armed and dangerous” and advises members of the public not to approach them,” said the Office of Special Investigations New York most wanted list.

 

According to initial reports by Italy’s la Repubblica, the officers didn’t know who Tejada was when they stopped him, but their instincts led them to search him, leading to his arrest. Tejada stands six feet tall, does not have tattoos, but has scars on his face and right hand according to descriptions given by sources.

 

Previously, During a property viewing in Suffolk County, New York, Tejada, posing as a potential client, is alleged to have handcuffed the real estate agent to a pole and stolen his car along with other belongings. He was later charged with armed robbery in the US.  “ Tejada has been linked to another “near identical” crime in Brooklyn,” said court documents from 2004. 

 

Investigators traced Tejada’s movements, discovering he recently arrived in Rome from Moldova. Prior to that, he had spent time in Ukraine. Tejada claimed he’d been in Ukraine since 2022, fighting against the Russian invasion. According to his statement, he only arrived in Italy 10 days before his arrest. According to media reports, the Italian authorities are waiting to hear if their US counterparts want to extradite him. It remains unclear whether Tejada posed any threat to the Pope. Coincidentally, Pope Francis held a general audience that same day, drawing large crowds of tourists and pilgrims to St. Peter’s Square on the day that Tejada was apprehended. 

 

 The OSI website states that all those on its list should be considered “armed and dangerous” and advises members of the public not to approach them.