Sunday, January 15, 2012

Theft in Spain

OK, everyone goes on about how bad pickpocketing in Spain is.  Most Catalans I know have had their wallet lifted once, in BCN, and my Dad got nailed while we were away.  In a bathroom on a highway service center.  The guy came up to him and told him that there were bird droppings on his coat (putting dirt there with a kleenex) and then proceeded to help him clean it up; and cleaned him out.

Major drag, but they didn't get the car keys or the  rented car (with all the presents in it) which would have been a bigger drag.

When the Mossos (OPP equivelent - Catalan level cops) showed up, they told us that with the recessions/crisis theft is increasing insanely.  People going into farmyards and stealing hand tools, like a shovel.  This was further corroborated by a man that the man knows.  He works in a lab in one of the universities and he told us that someone is breaking in there, almost weekly and stealing, get this, coffee percolators.  Really.  How desperate do you have to be to break into university offices and steal those nasty coffee percolators.

This week though our local bakery was robbed.  It was about 9:30 in the morning, which is pretty quiet, and a man came in asking for directions, but he couldn't understand what she meant, and had a map and had her come out to point to him which street he had to take.  His buddy went in the other door, right behind the counter and grabbed her purse, which sadly also had quite a lot of money in it to pay a wholesaler that day.  He couldn't get into the cash register as it has a code, but he dashed out the door as she turned seeing him and down one street, the map holder ran down another street and was picked up by a car with a third man in it who then zipped over and picked up the man with the bag and they were off.

Huge hassle, new locks on everything, cancel the phone, new cards for everything, blah blah blah.....

The nastiest feel of it though was that it was kind of personal.  The guy in the bathroom who got my dad's wallet had planned to do this, but it wasn't my dad specifically he was looking for.  These guys though, they had scoped the place out and come up with a plan to do it.



Anonymous said...

That's really terrible :(. Luckily, I haven't had my pockets picked yet... Although I've gotten credit-card frauded once (and the credit card issuer immediately detected the fraud and reached out to me for confirmation...). Fingers crossed.

J.G. said...

I guess folks are indeed desperate. What can the market be for a used coffeemaker?

Funny that random crime is better, somehow, but you're right. The watching and planning part makes it even more predatory.

Boo and Trev said...

Here there is a huge problem with metal theft. They have stolen an enormous Henry Moore and a Barbara Hepworth. They steal drain covers, the names from war memorials which are often the only record villages have of who died. They take the lead from church roofs and the metal used by the signals in the railways. It is horrible. They are probably only going to get a pittance for it and these things are lost for ever.

thecatalanway said...

Oh dear how horrible. It is too close to home and somehow in a small place more personal. I also wonder where they will sell a used coffee maker. In my recent experience of selling things you get virtually nothing for anything you want to sell on.
But I suppose these things happen in spates and the vast majority of the time we are safe to leave keys in the door or purses on the counter. K x

Helen said...

Metal thieves stole the electic cables from a hospital here and all the operations had to be cancelled. We were being tracked by 2 women while in Rome but they buggered off when it was obvious we had clocked them and B glared at them more than once. Nasty though.

oreneta said...

ElP, far *knock knock knock* no pick pockets. Credit card fraud, yup too. It was a guy no less, so there wasn't too much difficulty convincing them that the (multiple) card holder wasn't actually me, but rather an impostor. I mean really!

JG, Predatory is the perfect word for it. Absolutely how it must feel.

Boo and Trev, they're stealing Henry Moores!!! Good lord. They have busted and are continuing to try and bust folks here that are stealing copper primarily, from construction sites is very expensive stuff.

Kate, I know exactly what you mean. Seems a sign of either desperation or vengence, no?

Helen, Copper again, I think something similar has happened here. I had a guy in BCN that was following too close. I backed up and stood on him (while holding firmly to my wallet), then stopped to tie my shoe so he had to move on. Seemed to have worked.