Barcelona

Camorra: Bob Arno, thieves, Barcelona, Naples,

World’s most famous pickpocket slams ‘blatant’ street crime rates in Barcelona

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Bob Arno, now a security consultant [as well as a comedy stage pickpocket], is the world’s most prominent pickpocket. Speaking to 02B, Arno lifts…

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Bag snatch cafe. The chained trees won't be stolen, but the bags under the chair will be.

Bag Snatch Cafe

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You can hardly call it bag-snatching when a handbag is left hanging on the back of a chair, free for the taking. We regularly…

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Eurostars Grand Marina Hotel

Hotel Oddity #39

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We had a huge suite at the Eurostars Grand Marina Hotel in Barcelona. Surrounding the spacious bedroom, there was a sitting room, an office,…

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Pickpocket in Barcelona, Spain. The pigeon poop pickpocket ploy.

The Pigeon Poop Pickpocket Ploy

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The Pigeon Poop Pickpocket Ploy as perpetrated in Barcelona is devious. We discover the original Pigeon Poop Perp, who pretends to offer goodness. In…

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3-shell game on La Rambla, Barcelona.

The three-shell game – part 2

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How the 3 shell game works. Video tape is a wonderful diagnostic tool when it comes to sleight of hand. In slow motion, we…

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Al'alla, a retired pickpocket in Tangier

Interview in an Opium Den – Pickpockets in Morocco

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In a dim, smoky opium den, we faced the backlit profile of the Moroccan pickpocket. He barely looked at us, concentrating instead on our…

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Pickpocket Gamila, in Barcelona

Pickpocket beggars

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On the heels of the Louvre pickpocket debacle, here’s a profile of two exuberant Roma women pickpocket beggars who tell us how they do…

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Phone thieves: Florin & Friend

Child phone thieves answer questions

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Florin and his 13-year-old pal emphasize that they are not pickpockets—they are phone thieves. They steal phones from tabletops, not from people. The distinction…

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Phones on cafe table

Smartphone theft and police response

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Since recently coming to understand the high numbers of smartphone theft in Barcelona, the manners in which they’re stolen, and the strategic refusal of…

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Carrer de Ferran, Barcelona

Barcelona bag-snatch and the lucky victims

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Barcelona police are eager to report a theft when they catch the thief and return the victim’s property—if the following story is any indication….

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Al'alla, a retired pickpocket in Tangier

Barcelona’s Ronaldinho pickpocket technique

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Thieves who operate on the principles of stealth, motion, or impedence strive to minimize contact with their victim. Zero face-time is their preference. Minimal…

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Bob Arno in Barcelona with two of the three "table-top boys."

Smartphone theft: thieves are magicians

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Smartphone theft Smartphone theft is out of control. Phones are flying off cafe tables right under the noses of their owners. The thieves are…

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mossos d'esquadra

Barcelona police prevent theft-report filings

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Barcelona police are turning away theft victims who come to report the theft of their phones. Why? The victims can’t provide the stolen phones’…

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Barcelona police refuse to file reports of stolen phones without serial numbers

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Bob and I visited the Barcelona police station for information and found the usual line of victims reporting thefts. I asked a young Norwegian…

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The postcards are pulled away along with the wallet.

The Pickpocket’s postcard trick

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Kharem is another opportunist who doubles as a minor-league strategist. When we first met him, he was prowling the perimeter of a breakdance performance…

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Barcelona Street Scams

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“I, too, was a victim of Barcelona street scams…” said more than a hundred people. And they described their own thieves, con artists, fake…

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An opportunist pickpocket—part 2

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La Rambla, Barcelona—On observing the behavior of someone like Plaid, we label him a suspect. We follow and film, yet we can’t be certain…

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Opportunist pickpocket – part 1

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La Rambla, Barcelona—On one crowded summer Sunday, Bob and I patrolled the perimeters of the street performers’ audiences. Of all the thieves and con…

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Bambi’s bag snatch

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Was it instinct or anger that made Bob chase my bag snatcher? He rocketed down the street brandishing the famous umbrella weapon that was…

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Barcelona pickpocket statistics: 6,000 thefts per day on visitors

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Barcelona pickpocket statistics Barcelona visitors experienced 6,000 thefts per day during 2009’s tourist season. 115,055 pickpocketings and bag snatches in Barcelona were reported in…

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Purse stolen off lap at restaurant

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Should Have Left it in the Hotel—Gisela and Ludvig Horst checked into their Barcelona hotel and immediately got into an argument. Gisela did not…

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Confessions of an airport thief

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Kharem’s Lucky Haul Kharem, a pickpocket in Spain, sometimes chooses Barcelona’s airport over the rich pickings of the city. When Bob and I again…

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Windows Mobile 6.5 demo phone stolen at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona

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Message to Telsta executive pickpocket victim: don’t beat yourself up. It happens to lots of visitors to Barcelona. So many, that events are starting…

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The cozy-up steal

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Sandy and Frances thought little of the gaggle of girls who flopped onto the bench they were resting on. There were more girls than…

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The proliferation of Barcelona’s living statues

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Adrian has been a living statue on Barcelona’s Ramblas for two years. He was a chef in Romania before, and part owner of a…

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Beware women with cardboard

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Barcelona, Spain—They look like any ordinary girls, right? Walking down La Rambla, tossing their long braids, empty hands swinging casually. We only saw this…

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Swift swiper strikes

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Barcelona, Spain—We’re walking along Carrer de Ferran, a block off La Rambla. Instead of paying attention to the street scene, I’m looking for a…

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Pickpocket in Barcelona, Spain. The pigeon poop pickpocket ploy.

Pigeon poop pickpocket

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Barcelona, Spain—The Pigeon Poop Pickpocket got me with a double-blob on my back. I felt it ever-so-lightly and knew instantly we’d been accosted by…

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Pickpocket technique in Barcelona, Spain

A pickpocket technique updated

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Barcelona, Spain—We found Kharem again on La Rambla. He passed us head-on, with a huge smile. He didn’t notice us, but I recognized him….

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Barcelona street crime today

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Three female thieves with cardboard shields; two thefts from a park; one pigeon poop pickpocket; one postcard technique theft; one very prolific, multi-talented pickpocket;…

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