(CNN) — Another week, another round of terrible behavior from tourists in Italy.

On the heels of a woman posing naked on the steps of Amalfi Cathedral, two tourists in Venice have been apprehended for allegedly stealing a gondola.

The couple, said to be of French nationality, are accused of having stolen the cable car from the Accademia station, next to the famous bridge of the same name, to go for a ride on the Grand Canal around 1:30 a.m. Thursday.

Gondola owner Giorgio Bognolo said the boat’s contents – a blanket, cushions, decorations and other items worth hundreds of dollars – were thrown into the canal, before it won’t be carried away like a canoe.

He said the riders were apprehended when three locals in a passing boat noticed the gondola zigzagging back and forth on the canal and realized something was wrong.

Tourists threw the interiors and decorations of the Bognolo gondola into the canal.

Giorgio Bognolo

“They were laughing”

In addition to facing criminal charges for aggravated robbery, the couple also faces a civil case for bognolo damages.

The gondolier told CNN he was called at 3:10 a.m. by police, who identified the boat as his.

“They used it like a canoe, but a gondola isn’t like a canoe – it doesn’t go straight forward,” he said. “It’s not an easy boat to maneuver, it moves here and there and stops. We row it upright, with the forcola” — the curved piece of wood into which the single oar fits.

“Three guys saw straight away that it had been stolen, stopped them and called the police. They saved my gondola, otherwise who knows where it would have landed in the morning.”

Bognolo said the two tourists – both believed to be men and aged around 30 – laughed as they arrived to identify his gondola, which had ended up in the Guggenheim Museum, about 1,000 feet from where it started.

“They seemed happy – really happy. They weren’t apologizing, they weren’t apologizing. They were cold, it was ugly, that’s what really hurt me. They were laughing like it was all n was just a game.

“They did a really ugly thing – if I did something like this in France they would lock the key away. They are extremely lucky [to have done it in Italy]. The police separated us but I would have liked to slap them.”

The tourist pair stole the gondola as it was moored overnight by the Accademia deck.

The tourist pair stole the gondola as it was moored overnight by the Accademia deck.

Juanma Aparicio/Adobe Stock

Gondolas are not cheap, mass-produced boats. Bognolo says his hand-carved and inlaid vase cost €60,000 ($59,000) and he spends €3,000 every year to repaint it.

“Gondolas are really delicate and beautiful, and it takes a lot of money to maintain one,” he said. “It’s like sending your daughter to the well-organized school. I spend a lot of money to support her. It’s like someone touching your wife or your daughter.”

“It’s not Disneyland”

Bognolo’s attorney, Augusto Palese, told CNN his client is suing for damages for items allegedly thrown out of the gondola, as well as scratches and damage to the ship, totaling about $10. €000 to €15,000 ($9,900 to $14,750). Damages will also be sought for loss of profit for the days he is under repair, plus “moral damages”.

He expects to complete the civil suit in about a month, while the criminal case can take up to six months.

And he said advancing the charges isn’t just about the money.

“If people cause damage, they have to pay for it, but it’s also for our image,” he told CNN. “A lot of times people think they’re coming here to Disneyland, or to a theme park. In fact, a gondola is something someone needs to live and work. You can’t just steal it.

“The gondola is a symbol — [damaging it] it’s like throwing stones at the Eiffel Tower.”

“Once they fell [a stolen gondola] at New Years and when we joined them, one of them was dying of hypothermia. We saved him,” he said.

CNN reached out to Venice state police font for comments.