(ANSA) - Rome, September 24 - Italian police have arrested a man who says he was inspired by the Hollywood movie Catch Me If You Can when he began posing as an airline pilot. The man, who used the name Andrea Sirlo, created a fake persona - including a Facebook page - to get into the cockpit of at least one airplane posing as a pilot. He later told police, who had been hunting him for months, that he was inspired by the Steven Spielberg film Catch Me If You Can. The film, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, tells the story of American con artist Frank Abagnale Jr, who flew more than a million miles to 26 countries in the 1950s after sneaking a PanAm uniform and forging a pilot's licence. His Italian imitator was arrested Friday by police at a bar in Turin's airport, wearing a homemade pilot's uniform and carrying fake identity cards, according to police. The unnamed man was later charged with attempting to threaten air security and assuming a false identity. Civil aviation authorities became interested in the man, said to be 32, because he seemed to young to be a pilot, although he had said he was a captain. The unnamed man had flown on at least one flight with Air Dolomiti - owned by Lufthansa - from Munich to Turin as a third pilot. Training manuals, more fake ID cards, and other pilot's uniforms were later found at his home.
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di Sebastiano Caspanello