A thief has been caught after his brazen beach robbery was captured in a TV interview.
National broadcaster TVE was interviewing a tourist on Sant Miquel beach about why they returned to Barcelona for the summer when an elderly man is seen in the background momentarily stepping away from his bag, the NZ herald reports.
Seconds later, another man approaches the bag, looks around to see if anyone is watching and casually whisks it away.
On his return, the elderly man notices his bag is gone and becomes agitated, pacing around and asking passers-by for help, including a few women with paddleboards.
No one appears to notice and the tourist continues to discuss the wonders of Barcelona, with its "beautiful beaches and clean, cold water".
Luckily the 60-second video, which started out as a light and fun interview, exposes enough of the crime to help Barcelona police track down the bag.
“Thanks to a video published […] on social media and the victim’s complaint, today we identified and charged the perpetrator of a theft on Sant Miquel beach,” Barcelona’s Guàrdia Urbana police force said last week.
Barcelona one of the worst places for pickpocketing
This casual robbery at Sant Miquel beach is not an isolated incident as Barcelona is known to be a hotspot for petty crime targeting tourists.
A recent survey of Tripadvisor reviews identified the city as one of the top spots for run-ins with pickpockets, particularly around the popular spots Las Ramblas and Sagrada Familia.
As one of the busiest places for international visitors, police crime figures show there are almost 225 stolen property complaints a day in Barcelona – over 34,000 in the first half of this year.
To help crack down on organised gangs of pickpockets, the Catalonian state created a special branch of police called “relojeros” – or “watchmen” – earlier this year.
In the survey, Paris and Rome came second and third respectfully as the most likely places to get pickpocketed.
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