spain

Castellers, the human towers

Castellers, the Human Towers – with video

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Castellers build human towers of intricate design, topped by little children—called angels—who scamper up five or more levels of adults, raise a hand to…

The pigeon poop pickpocket of Barcelona

Pigeon Poop Pickpocket in Marbella, Spain

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The famous pigeon poop pickpocket of Barcelona has been spotted in Marbella, Spain. Is he enjoying a working vacation in the southern coastal resort…

Pickpockets look like tourists

Pickpockets look like tourists

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Pickpockets look like tourists, and it’s not by accident. Replete with water bottles, backpacks, camera, baseball caps, these “props” are intended to camouflage the…

Bag stolen in Barcelona cafe

Bag stolen in Barcelona cafe

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The loss of a valuable shoulder bag stolen in Barcelona was devastating to the victim. The bag had been on the floor beside her chair in a…

How pickpockets pick victims: Kharem, center, is a busy pickpocket in Barcelona.

How pickpockets pick victims

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Picking before picking Some pickpockets, Angelo for example, rifle full speed through as many pockets and purses as possible in a tight crowd. That’s…

Barcelona pickpocket scene today

Barcelona pickpocket scene today

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In my previous post, I offered seven simple rules to save yourself from pickpockets, inspired by my research into the Barcelona pickpocket scene today….

Seven simple rules to save yourself from pickpockets

Seven simple rules to save yourself from pickpockets

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In my previous post, I discussed the tedious and methodical research we do before slamming a city for high numbers in pickpocketing, bag snatching,…

worst cities for pickpocketing

Worst cities for pickpocketing?

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We are often asked which are the worst cities for pickpocketing. It always seems the correspondent or the journalist hopes that we will confirm…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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….

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…

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….

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…

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’…

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

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…

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…

Barcelona Street Scams

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…

An opportunist pickpocket—part 2

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…

Opportunist pickpocket – part 1

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…

Fully warned and aware; pickpocketed anyway

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…

Where does your pickpocketed stuff go?

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,…