A thief has been found after stealing a Barcelona bather’s bag in the background of a live TV news.
Police said they were able to identify the culprit after viewing footage shot by a crew from Spanish public broadcaster TVE who unwittingly recorded the theft while filming an interview with a tourist.
As the tourist explains on camera why he loves Barcelona for its “beautiful beach and clean, cold water”, the thief can be seen snatching an unattended bag from the sand and running away with it, seemingly unaware of the presence of the television crew.
Almost immediately, in the same sequence, the owner of the missing bag enters the shot, realizes his bag is missing, and begins to search for it.
The Guardia Urbana later announced that they were able to return some of the stolen property to their owner and acknowledged the happy accident of the crime broadcast live on television.
“Thanks to a video published […] on social networks and the victim’s complaint, today we have identified and charged the perpetrator of a robbery on the beach of Sant Miquel,” Barcelona police Guàrdia Urbana said on Sunday.
Barcelona has earned a reputation as a hotspot for street crime over the past few decades. According to police figures, 34,000 thefts were reported in the city between January and the end of May, or about 225 a day. During the same period, an average of 27 cases of violent thefts such as assaults were also recorded. Both figures are well above the last two years but in line with 2019, before the pandemic and the sharp drop in tourist numbers.
Police said they made just over 900 robbery-related arrests in the first five months of the year.
One of the main sources of street crime in Barcelona this year has been the theft of watches, prompting the regional police of Catalonia to create a unit to control gangs of so-called “relojeros”.
The Telegraph, London