(A prisoner stares out of a window at Regina Coeli jail in Rome August 4, 2006/Dario Pignatelli )

Italian police have found a fitting temporary home for an accused jewellery robber whose priestly disguise failed to help him slip past their dragnet.

Police said they tracked down and arrested the 37-year-old male suspect by reviewing closed circuit television footage around Via del Corso and Via Condotti, the swanky shopping district near the Spanish Steps, after a July 4th hold-up at one of Rome’s most prestigious jewellery shops.

Video footage released by Italian police showed a man dressed in the floor-length black cassock and round, wide brimmed black hat commonly worn by priests of the Roman Catholic Church until the 1960s and still favoured by traditionalists.

The footage showed the man was carrying a shopping bag and moving confidently through a crowd of shoppers after the heist, in which two employees were locked in a bathroom.