VERONA, Italy, June 30 (UPI) -- Eight Croatian gypsies were taken into police custody in northern Italy for allegedly making children take part in hundreds of crimes, officials said.
The arrests of seven adults and one youth were part of a six-month investigation in which authorities accused the gypsies of taking part in thefts in many areas of northern Italy, ANSA reported Monday.
The arrests contribute to controversy surrounding a government proposal to require all minors to be fingerprinted in Italy's gypsy camps, the report said.
The Venice Juvenile Court demanded that six youths be put into state custody during the probe.
Police said gypsies moved throughout the country organizing camps near residential areas. From the camps, children would be forced to rob homes, officials said.
Verona Police Chief Vincenzo Stingone said the probe revealed damage done to "dozens of children, trained in lawlessness and violence from early childhood."