spain

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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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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tree stump

Why Pickpocketing Continues

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How Laws Tie Hands, And Cut Them Off Sharif spat a mouthful of blood as he laid his right arm across a wide tree…

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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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Alicante beach

Beach bag theft

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I met the elderly British victim moments after her bag was stolen. She’d been sitting on the beach in Alicante, Spain, eating potato chips….

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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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Fully warned and aware; pickpocketed anyway

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My old friend Avis perused my blog just before her recent trip to Spain. Then she wrote me, doubly concerned. She and her 25ish…

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Street crime in Madrid

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One day in Spain and we are bombarded with sad stories, particularly of crime in Madrid. Crime in Madrid 1. Madrid Metro: A couple…

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Where does your pickpocketed stuff go?

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Jewelry, watches, pens, wallets… Ever wonder where all that pickpocketed stuff goes? Think Mrs. Pickpocket is decked out in your stolen pearls and Swatch,…

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hotel safe theft

Hotel room safe thefts

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How safe is the safe in your hotel room? Not safe at all, it turns out, unless you factor in the odds. Odds are,…

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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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The flower gift lift—Part 3 of 3

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The Offer of a Flower is a Foil for Filching Palma de Mallorca, Spain— Bob and I trailed a trio of young women through…

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The flower gift lift—Part 2 of 3

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Palma de Mallorca, Spain— Thirty to forty women practice this form of filching every day in Palma. They linger where the tourists are: around…

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Pickpockets with flowers

The flower gift lift

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Pickpockets with flowers Palma de Mallorca, Spain— She looks like your grandmother—possibly even your great-grandmother. With a gap-toothed smile, she offers you a single…

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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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