Police operation against Barcelona?s subway pickpockets

About 50 people have been detained in two major police operations in Barcelona?s subway since May. Minor robberies have been a constant problem in the few last years.

CNA / Júlia Pérez

July 24, 2010 01:34 AM

Barcelona (CNA).- Catalan Police detained about 50 people in two operations that have been taking place between the end of May until this July in Barcelona’s metro lines 3 and 4. In the two operations, police patrolled Barcelona’s Passeig de Gràcia station on the line 4 and Sants Estació station on the line 3. In both cases, most thieves committed robberies on the metro’s escalators and when the victims were leaving the metro wagons by distracting the passengers, causing them to fall down. In total, the detained thieves accumulate 525 arrests and 644 penal complaints.

The most common robbery method involves creating an agglomeration of people around the victim when they are on the escalator or coming out of the metro wagon. In this moment, a person stands in front of the victim and drops an object onto the floor. When the victim stops to allow the other person to pick up the object, another thief uses this moment to steal the victim’s rucksack or pickpocket them.
The first operation, held at the end of May, ended with a total of 23 people detained, who accumulated a total of 327 arrests and 245 penal complaints using this method. The 2nd operation, which took place this July, concluded with the arrest of 26 people in the L3 metro line between the Espanya and Lesseps stations. They accumulate 198 arrests and 399 penal complaints. This 2nd method is very similar to the previous, as it involves distracting victims and taking their personal items in the process. These thieves act both separately and in groups, sometimes in groups up to 9 people. These groups are usually very coordinated with a detailed distribution of tasks.